PCMA Statement on HELP Committee Hearing on President’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices

(Washington, D.C.) — The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) released the following statement on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, “The Cost of Prescription Drugs: Examining the President’s Blueprint ‘American Patients First’ to Lower Drug Prices:”

“We share the Administration’s goal of reducing drug prices. The key is to increase competition among drug companies so pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) can negotiate even more aggressively to reduce drug costs for patients. As such, we applaud the Administration’s efforts to cut through the red tape that keeps competing drugs from coming to market.

We support the Administration’s call for greater flexibility in benefit design to encourage better price negotiations, including allowing Medicare Part D plan sponsors to promote lower cost generics and biosimilars.

The easiest way to lower costs would be for drug companies to lower their prices. Manufacturers have chosen to negotiate price concessions with PBMs using rebates, which are calculated and paid months after a drug has been dispensed. Simply getting rid of rebates and other price concessions would leave patients and payers, including Medicaid and Medicare, at the mercy of drug manufacturer pricing strategies.

Rebates are used by payers to reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs for patients. A recent Medicare Part D report by the Office of Inspector General, Health and Human Services debunks the myth that drugmakers have somehow been compelled to raise prices because of the discounts and rebates health plans and PBMs demand to reduce overall costs.

We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to continue the Part D success story,  explore ways to introduce more competition into Medicare Part B, and avoid policies that increase costs and undermine quality.”