9. January 2010 01:29
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are heading for more scrutiny. It was bound to happen given all the focus on healthcare reform and everyone’s effort to cut and and all costs possible out of the system.
PBMs have long been criticized for adding more cost than value and this Washington Post article certainly doesn’t help that perception, especially when the CEO of a rival industry organization calls you “billion-dollar middlemen.” Ouch!
Now we’ve got congressmen and senators proposing new legislation which seems to have never helped reduce any cost.
The industry definitely needs more (and complete) transparency, however, based on what I read in the Washington Post article it doesn’t look that that will be forthcoming. Some PBMs, however, are taking the initiative and moving toward transparency on their own, at least in some way, shape, or form.
It’s a start. And when we finally get more of them to move I think you will see more costs wrung out of the system. Don’t expect a 20% or even 10% drop, but a flat line for a year or two would be better than the recent 6% – 10% annual increases the past several years.
We’ll be watching.