May 11, 2018

(Washington, D.C.) — The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) released the following statement today on the Administration’s new Blueprint on drug pricing:

“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 red tape that keeps competing drugs from coming to market.

While PCMA is still reviewing the Administration’s plan, we support its 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. We also support the patient always paying the lowest cost at the pharmacy counter, whether it’s the cash price or the copay. This is already standard industry practice in both Medicare and the commercial sector.

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. PBMs have long encouraged manufacturers to offer payers alternative ways to reduce net costs. Simply put, the easiest way to lower costs would be for drug companies to lower their prices.

While PBMs will continue offering the option of point-of-sale rebates in the commercial market, mandating it across the board in Medicare Part D would be unworkable and raise costs by $82 billion according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As the Blueprint notes, the Administration has already addressed this issue in a CMS request for information.

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.”