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Guest Opinion: Tell the FTC to Lower Drug Costs by Examining PBM Business Practices

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 graphic courtesy of AMAC


AMAC Action is excited to announce a significant initiative for our members and friends. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking for comments concerning the business practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBM). This is a significant development given that many Americans are familiar with PBM entities like, CVS Caremark, Optum Rx, and Express Scripts, but know very little about how they operate.

AMAC Action has been calling for PBM business transparency for 4 years to expose the legal “safe harbor” that exists for these organizations. This safe harbor allows pharmacy benefit managers to charge drug manufacturers excessive fees to access the millions of insured lives that PBMs control. These fees find their way back to consumers, including Medicare beneficiaries, in the form of high drug costs. These fees are anti-competitive and distort the free market which should be the deciding factor in determining drug prices. This safe harbor should be repealed which would allow for transparency, competition, and accountability to influence drug costs.

There are numerous other questionable business practices PBMs employ, like forcing Medicare beneficiaries to use a PBM mail order pharmacy that auto-refills prescriptions. These practices put pharmacy benefit managers between the patient and their physician and local pharmacist, and effectively allows the PBM to dictate when beneficiaries receive their medications. The auto-refill practice also allows PBMs to generate even more fees for each prescription that is dispensed.

The FTC’s request for comments will most certainly be answered by physicians and pharmacists, but the most important voice in this discussion will be yours, the patient. Please click the button below to send a comment to the FTC and tell them to take a close look at pharmacy benefit manager business practices as a legitimate approach to lowering drug costs for Americans.

Click Here to Send Your Comment to the FTC