Healthcare consolidation hurts cancer patients, advocates tell The Lancet

Healthcare consolidation can drive up the cost of drugs and treatment for cancer patients, advocates told The Lancet.

In a Sept. 23 article published in the medical journal, representatives for advocacy organizations explained why they see consolidation as harmful for cancer patients. 

Nicolas Ferreyros, managing director of policy, advocacy and communications for the Community Oncology Alliance, said when physicians, insurers and pharmacy benefit managers are all consolidated in the same system, it can compromise the integrity of cancer care because organizations can make referrals and control prescriptions to keep everything in their network. 

"Decisions are not always made in best interest of patients or the best value," Mr. Ferreyros told The Lancet. 

Advocates also expressed concern over the integration of payers and pharmacy benefit managers, which may have an incentive to favor more expensive drugs because of the way rebates are paid. 

Matthew Seiler, RN, vice president and general counsel of the National Community Pharmacists Association, said when payers own pharmacy benefit managers, patients may lose their choice of pharmacy, and face delays and extra costs getting medication. 

“This is not good for any patients”, Mr. Seiler told The Lancet. “PBMs integrate upstream with the insurer and downstream with pharma, and this creates an issue of access.”

 Read the full report here.

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