February 21, 2023
Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, email@example.com, 202-823-8442
Washington, D.C. – The National Consumers League (NCL) sent a letter urging Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to ensure that consumers get a fair deal at the pharmacy. When it comes to the high out-of-pocket costs consumers face at the pharmacy counter — often for lifesaving medications — consumers today have an unfair disadvantage.
“With three PBMs controlling nearly 80 percent of all prescription drug claims, it is timely that lawmakers are looking at PBMs’ role in driving up the cost of drugs to consumers and patients,“ said Sally Greenberg NCL Chief Executive Officer. “We are encouraged to see the committee looking into the workings of PBMs and we are supportive of your efforts to hold these entities accountable.”
Beyond addressing the antitrust issues and increasing transparency of PBM revenue streams, we encouraged legislators to:
- Remove medication barriers: PBMs should not be allowed to limit access to the medicines doctors prescribe.
- Require PBMs to pass on savings directly to consumers: PBM rebates should be shared so that consumers can benefit from more affordable out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, patient cost-sharing should be based on the net cost of the drug, not the list price.
- Ensure simple, single administrative PBM fees: PBMs too often tack on arbitrary fees to local pharmacies, with many independent and community pharmacies struggling to stay in business, this trickles down to the consumers, resulting in increased prices and pharmacy closures, leading to many communities facing pharmacy deserts.
- Ensure PBM profits are not tied to the costs of medications: The system currently incentivizes PBMs to favor medicines with higher list prices so that they can negotiate larger rebates and/or steer patients to medicines with higher price tags to increase their own profits.
With the many evolving ways PBMs too often put profit over consumer interests, it is crucial that federal consumer protection agencies like the FTC have the tools needed to address the PBM problem.
To view the full letter, click here.
About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit nclnet.org.