Fed up with rising drug prices, a coalitionthat represents 52 association membercompanies is taking a stand againstpharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Thegroup, organized by the HR Policy Association,aims to reveal the true cost ofprescription drugs and to change theway PBMs administer employee drugprices. The HR Policy Association's PharmaceuticalPurchasing Coalition hasdeveloped the Transparency in PharmaceuticalSolutions platform.
The new purchasing model wouldrequire PBMs to disclose and pass on totheir clients their acquisition costs forretail and mail-order prescriptions. Furthermore,the group wants PBMs to passalong the rebates that they get from drugmanufacturers. The group has been successfulin getting 3 smaller PBMs—AetnaPharmacy Management, MedImpactHealthcare Systems Inc, and WalgreensHealth Initiatives—to meet the standardsproposed by the coalition. The biggestchallenge will be getting the nation's 3biggest PBMs—Medco Health SolutionsInc, Caremark Rx Inc, and Express ScriptsInc—to embrace the new model.
"There is going to be a lot of pressureon even the big 3 to come around to thisbusiness model," said Jeffrey McGuiness,president of the HR Policy Association."In the end, it's going to be hard for anyoneto say ‘Total transparency? No, we'renot going to give you that.'"