...And Corporate America Seeks to Cut PBMs Out of Loop
As a sign that community pharmacy'scriticism of pharmacy benefit managers(PBMs) may be striking a receptivechord among many of the nation'sbiggest spenders on pharmaceuticalproducts, a coalition of 50 Fortune 500companies has announced plans tonegotiate directly with drug manufacturersfor lower prices.
The buyers' group, which collectivelyspent an estimated $4 billion on pharmaceuticalproducts and services lastyear alone, foots the bill for prescriptiondrug benefits for 5 million employeesand retirees. Under the plan, the majorcorporations will band together to seeklower prices from manufacturers on Lipitor,Vioxx, Paxil, and dozens of otherheavily prescribed brand name drugs.
The shift was prompted in largepart by corporate suspicions that PBMsnegotiate significant price rebatesfrom pharmaceutical manufacturersbut keep a large part of the savingsrather than passing it on to plan sponsors.PBMs would be cut out of theloop altogether for certain drugs underthe plan. PBMs would continue tomanage the employers' payments forgenerics and less expensive brandeddrugs and would perform administrativechores for the corporations.