Pharmaceutical Care Management Association advocates solutions to reduce drug costs

Pharmaceutical Care Management Association President and CEO Mark Merritt  

Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO Mark Merritt offered several market-based solutions for escalating drug prices during his testimony presented Thursday before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 

At the committee’s hearing, titled “Developments in the Prescription Drug Market,” Merritt presented possible solutions that included stepping up FDA approvals for “me-too” or off-patent brands with no market competition; generating a government watch list of non-patented brands; and forbidding copay coupons in cases where insurance carriers receive federal subsidies.

"The pricing tactics discussed today are just one piece of a much larger puzzle,” Merritt said. “The key to reducing costs is through competition. The challenge is we need more of it. There is also a growing use of bait-and-switch copay assistance marketing programs that encourage patients to ignore generics and start on more expensive brand drugs."

PCMA represents America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who oversee prescription drug plans for more than 266 million Americans with a full range of health insurance programs, including commercial, self-insured, union, Medicare Part D and government coverage plans.

PBMs help reduce drug costs by negotiating rebates and discounts, encouraging use of generic drugs and relatively affordable brands, managing high-priced specialty products, and curbing waste and improving compliance.

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