ICYMI: Pharmacy Benefit Managers Are Not To Blame For Rising Drug Prices

PCMA Urges Congress to Listen to Constituents and Address Rising Drug Prices

In case you missed it, JC Scott, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), highlights the challenges Americans are facing when it comes to the rising price of prescription drugs in a new op-ed published in The Messenger.

Scott notes that while drug companies continue to raise drug prices and a growing number of Americans are facing difficulty affording their prescriptions, policymakers are missing the mark by focusing on misguided legislation. Scott writes:

“Over the past several months, Congress has chosen to pursue “drug-pricing legislation” that does nothing to address prices and instead singles out pharmacy benefit companies, the one part of the supply chain that serves as the only real check against the pricing power of big drug companies. Seven different committees have held a total of nine hearings and eight markups on legislation involving pharmacy benefit companies so far this year, with very few focused on the root cause of high drug prices: pharma’s price-setting. Policymakers are missing the mark.”

He encourages Members of Congress to consider “which entities in the supply chain control pricing decisions and which ones — the PBMs — actually act as a brake on costs.” Additionally, Scott offers suggestions for areas where Congress can focus to lower drug prices and deliver real savings for Americans at the pharmacy:

“When Congress returns to the Capitol, lawmakers should ask the fundamental question: Is the legislation under consideration actually going to lower prescription drug prices?

Were Congress to focus on that, lawmakers could have a meaningful impact on prescription drug prices. For starters, lawmakers could address the anti-competitive practices that some drug companies have used to hinder new medications from coming to market, including patent abuse tactics that maintain monopolies, pay-for-delay deals that effectively block more affordable generic drugs, and overly long exclusivity periods for biologics and orphan indications that stifle competition.”

Scott also calls on Big Pharma to address the root cause of the affordability challenge, simply lower their prices, and do the right thing for patients:

“Earlier this year, drug manufacturers announced their decision to lower list prices on certain insulin products, and pharmacy benefit companies cheered that announcement. That’s why we are calling on pharma to not stop there and asking them to lower prices across therapeutic areas. It’s past time to do the right thing to bring down prices and improve patient access to needed medications.

Read Scott’s full The Messenger op-ed HERE.


Read a recent blog highlighting Big Pharma’s Pay-For-Delay that keeps more affordable options from entering the market and prescription drug prices high HERE.

Learn more about public policy solutions that would promote competition in the prescription drug market and effectively lower prices for patients 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