Are pharmacy benefit managers the key to stem the rising tide of Arizonans’ drug costs?


The CDC issued a review statement consisting of information relating to drug resistance, preventing prescription overdose and information on the Ebola outbreak over the course of 2015.   Courtesy of the CDC

What is a “pharmacy benefit manager” and how does it save money for Arizonans on their prescription drugs?

That’s the focus of a new educational campaign launched by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), the national association for pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs. PBMs administer prescription drug benefits for employers, labor unions and government programs, such as Medicare Part D.

According to new research released by the organization, PBMs are expected to save Arizona consumers, employers, and unions $7 billion on their prescription drugs during the next decade. 

“PBMs reduce prescription drug costs by providing ‘Amazon-style’ home delivery of medications and creating select networks of more affordable pharmacies,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

Merritt said that other ways PBMs can reduce costs is by encouraging the use of generic medicines, negotiating rebates from drug makers and discounts from drugstores, and managing higher-cost specialty medications, such as those that treat cancer and Hepatitis C.

As part of the group’s educational effort, PCMA has launched a new Web site, ThatsWhatPBMsDo.com, as well as an ad campaign focused on the cost savings generated by PBMs.

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