SCPC Says PBMS’ Ability to Just Say, “Trust Us” Coming to End as Lawsuits, More Congressional Scrutiny Worries Secretive Pharmaceutical Middlemen
Washington, DC – Placed on the defensive by a growing level of congressional scrutiny and unfavorable publicity surrounding lawsuits against the shadowy pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) industry, the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) noted the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) is being forced to mount a defensive public relations effort to counter the growing perception that PBMs are anti-consumer, anti-taxpayer and anti-free market. PCMA is the Washington-based organization representing the multi-billion dollar PBM industry.
“As lawmakers raise more red flags and as lawsuits grow more prevalent in the daily headlines, the secretive PBM industry is finally being forced to play defense as legitimate questions are being raised about their sketchy, illusory value proposition,” observed Alan G. Rosenbloom, President and CEO of the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC). “The days of PBMs’ ability to simply say ‘Trust Us’ to lawmakers, regulators and the public are over.”
Rosenbloom said that a concerted, aggressive, bipartisan congressional effort forcing PBMs to justify their status as increasingly unaccountable pharmaceutical middlemen is being helped by the fact former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli and others are raising public awareness of price manipulation and deceptive pricing practices. The SCPC President and CEO specifically praised the efforts of U.S. Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
“Among the biggest problem surrounding the exploding costs of pharmaceutical products is the complexity of the issue itself, and how PBMs – little known to the public and even the media – subsequently operate to manipulate prices,” Rosenbloom continued. “Vibrant markets and making profits have, will, and always should be a hallmark of our capitalist system – but markets must be open and transparent, especially when government resources are part of the equation.”
Rosenbloom said a recent House floor statement by Rep. Doug Collins properly framed the growing scrutiny facing PBMs:
“If they [PBMs] were truly acting in the best interests of consumers they would not oppose virtually every single transparency reform effort on the state and federal level… They come to Congress and say one thing to members and then turn around and behave any way they wish in the pharmacy marketplace without fear of enforcement or oversight… They come with shiny objects in savings that many times never materialize but at the same time funneling money to their own businesses… PBMs are not representing the best interests of consumers, they’re acting in the best interest of themselves.”