PCMA: Pharmacy Benefit Managers are the Sole Check Against Drug Manufacturers’ Pricing Power

(Washington, D.C.) —Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO JC Scott issued the following statement on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing: “Lowering Prescription Drug Prices: Deconstructing the Drug Supply Chain:”

“We stand with Congress and the Administration in the fight to reduce prescription drug costs. To achieve that objective, it is important to understand the role of each player in the prescription drug supply chain, including drug manufacturers, wholesalers, and pharmacy services administrative organizations (PSAOs), in addition to the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that work every day to reduce costs for consumers. We commend the Subcommittee for holding the hearing.

Drug manufacturers alone set and raise drug prices. As the only check on manufacturers’ pricing power, PBMs have been able to achieve an overall stable cost trend for prescription drugs.

There is a constructive conversation to be had on how to use the savings that PBMs negotiate for government programs, whether it’s to reduce premiums or lower cost-sharing at the pharmacy counter. But if PBMs are not empowered to continue their role as negotiators, the Administration’s proposed rebate rule will increase prescription drug prices, lead to higher Medicare Part D premiums, and cause disruption to the seamless access that consumers have come to expect when getting their medications.

Any policy changes to the use of rebates and discounts in Medicare and Medicaid should rely on the proven existing infrastructure operated by PBMs. PBMs are best positioned to provide real-time access to affordable prescription drug benefits as they alone have the necessary systems, data, and expertise, and will be able to administer a new system with less cost to the government and less impact on beneficiary premiums. In fact, PBMs already offer and operate point-of-sale (POS) cost-sharing systems today, including in Medicare Part D.”