Pharmacy Benefit Managers Promote Value

‘That’s What PBMs Do’ campaign is focused on showing consumers how beneficial pharmacy benefit managers are to the pharmaceutical industry.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) recently launched the campaign “That’s What PBMs Do,” which highlights all the benefits that correspond with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

This campaign was launched at the same time policymakers are seeking ways to decrease rising drug prices to show different reasons why PBMs are beneficial.

"This campaign is focused on educating policymakers and opinion leaders on how PBMs reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of prescription drug benefits for more than 266 million Americans," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt in a press release.

The campaign’s website includes many different resources for people to explore. According to a video on the website, PBMs will save consumers, employers, unions, and government programs approximately $654 billion over the next 10 years.

The campaign also provides advertisements that show how PBMs are beneficial for patients of all types. For example, one is titled “Improving Adherence for Chronic Care Patients” and another is titled “Lowering Pharmacy Costs for Medicare Seniors.”

This campaign is likely the result of study findings that are included in the website’s resources. PBMs are able lower costs through using tools and are able to negotiate rebates from manufacturers, negotiate discounts from drugstores, offer more affordable pharmacy channels, encourage the use of generics or inexpensive brands, reduce waste, improve adherence, and manage high-cost specialty medications, the studies indicated.

The study also found that sponsors can save up to 30% on costs when full range of PBM tools are used. In 10 years, PBMs are projected to save commercial plan sponsors and members almost $350 billion and will save Medicare Part D and its enrollees almost $257 billion.

The study states that PBMs can also save managed Medicaid almost $48 billion. Since the use of PBM tools in fee-for-service Medicaid is limited, this number is about 10% less than what could be saved.

The study also states that the savings generated by PBMs for commercial employers would cover the cost of over 670,000 jobs this year.

Through the use of more PBM tools, these employers could cover the costs of an additional 190,000 jobs in 2017, but underutilizing these tools could result in lost savings that could equal that amount, the study concluded.