ICYMI: Former U.S. Senator Pat Toomey: Before Targeting PBMs, Republicans Should Consider The Unintended Consequences

In case you missed it, Pat Toomey, former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, cautioned lawmakers against legislation targeting pharmacy benefit companies and policies that meddle with the free market in a new op-ed published in Townhall.

Senator Toomey highlights how pharmacy benefit companies secure savings:

“A comprehensive study from the Government Accountability Office in 2003 found that health plans that used PBMs had significant cost savings, reducing drug spending by as much as 9 percent. A more recent report from the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Inspector General found that by failing to use a PBM, DOL spent hundreds of millions more on prescription drugs than it should have. The best evidence suggests PBMs lower costs, and if the government destroys their business model, consumer prices will very likely rise.

The former senator calls out legislation focused on so-called “delinking” and new government-mandated reporting:

“The proposals targeting PBMs aim to eliminate PBMs’ ability to earn a percentage of the savings they negotiate and/or force PBMs to disclose negotiated prices in business-to-business transactions. These measures would reduce PBMs’ capacity to generate savings in future negotiations.

Toomey also shares how the arguments against pharmacy benefit companies are not worthy of any merit:

“Even the argument that PBMs are “middlemen,” and therefore unworthy of earning a fraction of drug sales revenues, isn’t persuasive… PBMs provide a service by representing multiple, often regional, insurance companies which allows the PBMs to aggregate buying power and negotiate price concessions that smaller parties would be unlikely to obtain.

He closes by urging his former colleagues to instead focus on healthcare reforms that allow the market to innovate and lower costs:

We should be encouraging more competition, not allowing the government to dictate business models, price controls, and winners and losers in our healthcare system.”  

Toomey joins a growing number of former lawmakers, economists, and employers warning Congress against passing misguided policies that will raise the cost of prescription drugs.

Read the full op-ed from Pat Toomey HERE.


See what health policy researcher Alex Brill had to say on the cost implications of recent “delinking” legislation, including increase in health insurance premiums of as much as $26.6 billion, HERE.

Read why Joe Grogan, visiting senior fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center and former domestic policy adviser under the previous administration, is also sounding the alarm over “delinking” legislation HERE.

Learn more about what other economic and health care experts are saying to urge Congress to reject banning performance-based payments for pharmacy benefit companies. See more HERE.

See PCMA’s guide to understanding the role and value of pharmacy benefit companies HERE.


PCMA is the national association representing America’s pharmacy benefit companies. Pharmacy benefit companies are working every day to secure savings, enable better health outcomes, and support access to quality prescription drug coverage for more than 275 million patients. Learn more at www.pcmanet.org