Carter calls for FTC investigation into drug benefit managers

U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA) has called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate alleged predatory practices by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) that he says have caused prices to skyrocket prescription drugs.

Rep. Carter and U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) requested the report in an 11-page letter May 24 sent to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan as formal comments filed in the solicitation. FTC public comments on pharmacy business practices. Managers and their impact on independent pharmacies and consumers.

“We offer informed and unique perspectives on these issues from our professional backgrounds as pharmacists, and believe that an FTC 6(b) survey and analysis of the roles that the most important and market-dominating PBMs play in chains U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain could not be more timely or necessary,” Rep. Carter and his colleagues wrote.

PBMs have become some of the largest and most profitable businesses in the country, according to lawmakers, who wrote that PBMs act as intermediaries between pharmacies, drugmakers and health insurance plans to administer benefits prescription drugs, and play an important role. to determine which prescription drugs are covered by insurance plans and how much they cost.

“Right now, drugs are leaving the manufacturer at a price then skyrocketing before reaching the pharmacy and PBMs refuse to explain why,” they wrote. “Patients deserve better.”

Specifically, PBMs increasingly employ a host of practices that result in higher prices for payers/consumers and eliminate opportunities to reduce overall costs, including anti-competitive practices, direct and indirect compensation costs, and tiered pricing, according to the lawmakers’ letter.

“Addressing anti-competitive practices by PBM is essential to ensure that beneficiaries retain access to pharmacies that provide essential prescription drugs and other essential services such as chronic and complex disease management, wellness and prevention, vaccines, certain tests and disease education”, Rep. Carter and his colleague wrote.

An FTC investigation is necessary to understand the conflicts of interest, anticompetitive behavior, and market distortions that are driving the continued increase in prescription drug prices, as well as to provide meaningful analysis and recommendations for future legislation aimed at reduce prescription drug prices, better protect patients and safeguard competition, the members wrote.

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