Senator Rand Paul Sounds the Alarm on Legislation Targeting Pharmacy Benefits that will Actually Increase Prescription Drug Prices

As Congress reviews legislation targeting Americans’ pharmacy benefits, Members of Congress are raising concerns about the unintended risks of significantly increasing drug costs. In case you missed it, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) discusses recent legislation advanced by the Senate’s HELP committee.

In a recent op-ed published in The Barren Progress, Sen. Paul writes:

“Everyone seeks a way to bring down prescription drug prices. The devil is in the details. Unfortunately, recently proposed bills fail to comprehend the problem and I fear they will actually raise drug prices.  

“Just recently, a drug pricing bill came up in the Senate’s health care committee. Instead of lowering drug prices, this bill likely will put more money in the pockets of the big pharma CEOs.

“The bill would put more regulations on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and ban some of their contracts altogether. But what are PBMs? If the average American has heard of them at all, it was probably on a TV ad accusing them of being “middlemen” who drive up drug costs. But nobody ever bothers to explain what they do.”

Sen. Paul then goes on to explain that the proposed legislation is just a ploy by special interests to dismantle pharmacy benefit companies to help further line their pockets:

“The truth is the left’s bill is being rammed through the Senate because some special interests want to weaken PBMs. Drug companies don’t like that PBMs have the size and bargaining power to cut into their profit margins, and they blame a complicated payment system PBMs use for why they won’t lower prices.” 

Unfortunately, Congress is not examining the entire prescription drug supply chain in order to identify policy approaches that actually reduce drug costs. Instead, lawmakers seem to be taking the bait from Big Pharma to target pharmacy benefit companies – the only member of the prescription drug supply chain working to lower drug costs.

Sen. Paul points out:

“So why is the progressive left and big pharma teaming up to get rid of rebates? Perhaps it’s because if we eliminate rebates but the Robinson-Patman Act stays in place, PBMs will be disarmed. Drug companies will point to the risk of antitrust lawsuits as an excuse not to offer up-front discounts, and if PBMs can’t offer rebates, there won’t be any downward pressure on drug prices. 

Like so many misguided policies in Washington, this bill may actually raise drug prices. If that happens, just imagine the outcry for a single-payer health care system with government price controls. Maybe that’s exactly what the left is betting on—that if drug companies have free rein, the American people will get fed up fast, and demand a socialist paradise.”

Members of Congress should oppose legislation that targets pharmacy benefits and instead, focus on policies that eliminate egregious patent abuse by companies that stifles competition and keeps prices high.

Read the full op-ed from Senator Paul HERE.


See a recent PCMA blog highlighting how former Members of Congress are warning Congress against advancing legislation targeting pharmacy benefit companies HERE.

See what more lawmakers have had to say about pharmacy benefits securing savings for employers and patients, and the root cause of high prescription drug prices – Big Pharma’s anti-competitive tactics – 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