Phar­ma­cists, PBMs point fin­gers in ris­ing drug costs

Modern Healthcare - - Late News -

Phar­macy-ben­e­fits man­agers and in­de­pen­dent phar­ma­cists are us­ing a re­cently re­leased AARP Rx Price Watch

Re­port as an op­por­tu­nity to en­gage in a bat­tle of words over which group is more re­spon­si­ble for ris­ing pre­scrip­tion drug costs. The AARP re­port found that 2009 re­tail prices for 217 pre­scrip­tion drugs widely used by Medi­care ben­e­fi­cia­ries was no­tably higher than the rate of in­crease dur­ing the pre­vi­ous four years. The in­crease in 2009 was 8.3% com­pared with a range of 6% to 7.9% dur­ing 2005 to 2008. The re­port made no ref­er­ence to any par­tic­u­lar group be­ing re­spon­si­ble, but the Na­tional Com­mu­nity Phar­ma­cists As­so­ci­a­tion, a trade group rep­re­sent­ing in­de­pen­dent phar­ma­cists, in a writ­ten state­ment blamed PBMs for the cost in­creases. “Drug man­u­fac­tur­ers pay PBMs bil­lions of dol­lars each year to drive brand mar­ket share, re­sult­ing in enor­mous PBM prof­its, with the rest passed onto health plans,” NCPA Pres­i­dent Joseph Harmi­son said. The PBM trade group Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Care Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion struck back with its own take on who is to blame for es­ca­lat­ing drug costs. “Un­like in­de­pen­dent drug­stores, PBMs are hired by pay­ers to drive down pre­scrip­tion costs, not max­i­mize re­im­burse­ment,” the group said in its state­ment.

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