Pennsylvania Auditor General Focuses in on Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers (PBMs)
Written by Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Association Affairs, Andy Sandusky

March 21, 2019

This week, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale testified in a legislative hearing of the House Health Committee about his report, “Bringing Transparency & Accountability to Drug Pricing.” Auditor General DePasquale’s report shows how Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers (PBMs) - or middle men - impact the costs of prescription drugs, and in many cases, PBMs are making the cost of prescriptions higher.

According to Auditor General, rebates, paid by the drug manufacturer to a PBM, “…can actually drive up the cost of prescription drugs as much as 30 percent, meaning a brand-name heart medication, for instance, is likely almost a third more expensive than it needs to be.” The Auditor General also stated, “The ultimate purpose of rebates is to lower the cost of prescription drugs. But my research shows that is not always happening.” The Auditor General urged the General Assembly to look at legislation that provides for transparency and accountability in the business of the PBMs.

It must also be stated that the PBM industry was not invited to testify at this hearing, so it is possible they have another side of the story to share. But one thing is for sure, PBM legislation is likely to take up some healthcare policy time in the Pennsylvania General Assembly this session.