Should the intermediaries known as pharmacy benefits managers be reined in to control drug prices? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Medicare could save billions of dollars simply by negotiating drug prices, a recent study found. One group that makes a lot of money acting as an intermediary between payers and patients are pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs. Caleb Alexander, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, explains their role in maintaining high drug costs.

Alexander: Pharmacy benefits managers are a middle person between pharmaceutical manufacturers and insurers on the one hand, and patients and their loved ones on the other. They benefit from the status quo. They do use their power and their authority to help shape prescription drug utilization. In some ways the public benefits from that but in others they do not. Because PBMs, or pharmacy benefits managers are making billions of dollars off of the current system of pharmaceutical pricing in the United States.  :34

Alexander notes that many are calling for PBM reform. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.