Like numerous members of Congress, Arizona’s senior U.S. senator, John McCain, has engaged on the issue of rising prescription drug prices.
“Like many Americans, far too many Arizonans have been unfairly burdened by the rising costs of prescription medication,” said Senator McCain in a September 2016 press release. “The American people should not be forced to choose between filling a prescription or making their monthly mortgage payment.”
While numerous congressional inquiries have purported to seek solutions or culprits for the rising costs, the American people appear to be placing the blame squarely on the laps of prescription drug manufacturers, according to a new survey released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA).
That survey, conducted for PCMA by North Star Opinion Research, found that three quarters of voters say the cost of prescription drugs is too high, and 55 percent said that drug companies are most to blame for high drug costs.
Mark Merritt, president of PCMA, which represent the nation’s pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies, pointed out that only 7 percent of Americans blame his association’s industry for high drug prices, despite the brand prescription drug manufacturers’ attempts to shift the blame to PBMs.
PBMs administer prescription drug plans for consumers who have health insurance from commercial health plans, self-insured employer plans, Medicare Part D plans, union plans, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and state government employee plans.
“Consumers are well aware drug companies set drug prices and they know higher prices mean higher out-of-pocket costs. No one’s buying the drug companies’ campaign to shift blame to employers, unions, plans, or the PBMs that negotiate discounts on their behalf,” said Merritt.
Merritt also pointed to a recent study conducted by health care consulting firm Visante, which found that PBMs are generating $941 in prescription drug savings per person for consumers and payers, and for every $1 spent on their services, PBMs reduce costs by $6.
“PBMs are reducing prescription drug costs for patients while also improving health care quality and outcomes,” said Merritt, who added that these findings contradict some drug manufacturers attempts to shift the blame for rising drug costs to the PBMs.”