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ICYMI: 7 June PBM Stories You Need to Read

by John Norton | Jul 06, 2017

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Because we know you're busy, NCPA decided to recap some of the top reporting we found about PBM practices in June:

health care news1. "How 'price-cutting' middlemen are making crucial drugs vastly more expensive" (By Michael Hiltzik, LA Times, June 9)—Details how PBM are driving up costs for diabetes drugs, EpiPen and CALPERs (California's public employees' benefit system).

2. "Who Decides The Cost of Prescription Drugs?" (By Ali Velshi, Velshi & Rule, June 9)—Provides an easy-to-follow breakdown of how the business practices of pharmaceutical supply chain stakeholders increase prescription drug spending, with the role of PBMs receiving serious scrutiny.

3. "Follow The Money: The Flow Of Funds In The Pharmaceutical Distribution System" (By Neeraj Sood, Tiffany Shih, Karen Van Nuys and Dana Goldman, Health Affairs Blog, June 13)—Makes the case for reining in rising costs throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain by requiring stakeholders, like PBMs, to act more transparently.

4. "Nevada just passed one of the strictest drug pricing transparency laws in the country" (By Lydia Ramsey, Business Insider, June 15)—Explains how a bill targeting high costs for diabetes drugs was vetoed and signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval (R) only after strong PBM reform provisions were added.

5. "Pharmacists Point Finger At ‘Middlemen' For Soaring Drug Costs" (By Brian New, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, June 19)—An in-depth piece about the impact of predatory copay clawbacks.

6. "Feeling the pain of rising drug prices? Blame the middle man" (By Walecia Konrad, CBS News, June 26)—Looks at how PBMs contribute to high prescription drug prices from the patient's perspective, with copay clawbacks front and center.

7. "Unaccountable Benefit Managers: How PBMs Put Profits Over Patients" (By Jeff Vacirca, Morning Consult, June 28)—An oncologist's view of how PBMs use and abuse retroactive pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees.

The conclusion after checking out these news stories: PBM reform is a vital part of any effort to fix rising prescription drug prices. As these stories demonstrate, NCPA has been aggressive in helping the media learn more about these drug middlemen. We aim to keep at it. You can help our efforts by sharing any under-reported PBM stories with me at or 703-600-1174.