The Pharmacy Benefit Brief | September 2020

Welcome to the Pharmacy Benefit Brief. This brief is your monthly snapshot of news from America’s prescription drug supply chain including pharmacy benefit managers, independent pharmacies, and drug manufacturers.

The Latest in Rx News:

Why are insulin prices so high?

The high price of insulin products is a problem for too many patients. We want to get to the bottom this issue once and for all, so we asked the research firm, Visante to analyze insulin costs.

It’s an insightful analysis that does a deep dive into the three reasons for high insulin prices. Those reasons are:

  1. Three drug manufacturers control the insulin market, limiting competition
  2. A lack of cheaper generic and biosimilar insulins
  3. Drug manufacturers’ gaming of the patent system

Clearly, drug manufacturers’ tactics are a significant barrier to real competition in the insulin market. Despite the uphill battle, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), have held insulin costs down for most consumers. To see an example of PBMs in action, read here.


You’ve Got Mail….Prescriptions

The U.S. Post Office has been the focus of attention in state legislatures and in Washington D.C. as the partisanship of election season heats up. While electionyear political rancor is inevitable, patients need to know that delays in delivery of their prescriptions are not. Mail service pharmacies are taking all necessary steps for patients to continue to receive their medications on time.

During the pandemic, as Americans increasingly stay at home, people are choosing to fill their prescriptions 20 percent more often through the mail. PBM mail-service pharmacy helps Americans stay at home and helps them take their medications when they should.

“Specifically, research has demonstrated filling prescriptions through mailservice pharmacies and in 90-day supplies…, can increase adherence to drug regimens, including for individuals living with chronic conditions.”

Read more about PBM mail-service pharmacy: Mail-Service Pharmacies: Driving Greater Safety, Adherence, and Savings for Patients

On this topic, Rep. Natalie Mihalek in Pennsylvania, explained that PBMs are expanding patients’ prescription supply so they don’t have to get them refilled as often, and working with pharmacists to increase 30-day supplies to 90-day supplies, or switch prescriptions to be a mail order 90-day supply to ensure patients have enough on hand.

Read Rep. Mihalek’s op-ed: Anticipated drug shortages highlight need for health care industry collaboration


Did You Know?
  1. Did you know employers are overwhelmingly satisfied with PBM services? Read more
  2. Over the next 10 years, PBMs are projected to save $1.3 trillion for plan sponsors and consumers across the U.S.
  3. They won’t tell you this, but the number of independent pharmacies in the U.S. have increased by 12.9% since 2010. Click here for more

What is a PBM? Watch the short video here.