NCL statement on PBMs and new GAO report

September 18, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) today released a statement following a recently released U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) report on Medicare Part D rebates.

The following statement is attributable to NCL Chief Executive Officer, Sally Greenberg:

“Investigation after investigation, report after report, and study after study prove that pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs’) do not provide benefits to consumers. To the contrary, we believe PBMs, who are middlemen, drain billions of dollars that should be going into the pockets of patients and consumers and help them defray their healthcare costs. The evidence mounts that PBMs, which once had a noble purpose, have lost their way and become profit centers unto themselves, adding costs to our drug supply system at the expense of patients. This latest report by GAO underscores that our nation’s seniors – often our most vulnerable patients who rely most on medications – pay the highest price for PBM practices.

“In just one year, GAO found that the PBMs collected almost $50 billion in rebates from prescription drug manufacturers under the Medicare Part D program alone. These savings should go directly to Medicare beneficiaries, but for the nearly 80 of the highest rebated drugs analyzed, GAO found that seniors paid more than $20 billion, while their plan sponsors — often vertically integrated with PBMs — paid only $5.3 billion. PBMs are able to enrich themselves because they control access to prescription drugs, block competition, conduct business in the shadows, and pocket discounts meant for patients. PBMs simply driving up out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries to the tune of millions of dollars.

“Congress has an opportunity to enact meaningful PBM reforms to prevent such behavior. We urge our leaders in Congress to closely examine the findings of the GAO report, and put a stop to the practices of PBMs to profit off of vulnerable patients. In doing so, our elected representatives will put money back in the pockets of patients and help them to better afford the medications they need.”

Learn more about NCL’s work to address the PBM problem at


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