The price of prescription drugs has brought scrutiny to the entire drug supply chain. Congress and other policymakers continue to seek opportunities to lower costs for patients and the federal government.
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are a key stakeholder in the drug supply chain, functioning as intermediaries between insurance providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers. PBMs administer prescription drug benefits and seek discounts for insurers as standalone plans, such as Medicare Part D plans, or as entities embedded in commercial insurance products, including Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicaid Managed Care Organizations and employer-sponsored coverage.
PBMs are under increased scrutiny from policymakers due to the perceived opaqueness of their operations and their perceived role in increasing drug costs. As part of this scrutiny, Congress and other stakeholders are raising questions about PBMs’ impact on drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for patients. In the 118th Congress, several key committees have advanced legislation that would increase PBM transparency and reporting obligations and modify other business practices. Read on for a side-by-side comparison of House and Senate PBM bills and our forecast of the possible effects of these proposed changes to PBM operations.