by David Merritt
September 4, 2018
The recent opinion piece, “Surprise! Trump might actually lower drug prices,” gets one thing right: Drug prices are out of control. Every month, too many families choose between paying their bills or getting their medications. Yet drugmakers continue to price gouge patients—raising prices multiple times a year—knowing that patients have no alternatives.
Big Pharma blames “middlemen”—pharmacy benefit managers (PBM)—for rising drug costs. Common sense, plus lots of research, prove that’s not true. In reality, PBMs negotiate with drugmakers for lower prices for millions of Americans.
PBMs save patients up to 50 percent each year on medications and related medical costs—an average of $941 per person per year. PBMs negotiate rebates with drugmakers, passing up to 98 percent of those savings directly to consumers—and 100 percent of rebates are shared with seniors with Medicare Part D coverage.
Americans know that the push to lower drug prices starts with Big Pharma. It’s time to hold them accountable. Insurance providers and their PBMs should be given more power to negotiate lower prices for consumers, not less.
-David Merritt, Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)