3 pharmacy associations applaud FTC investigation into PBMs

National pharmaceutical groups congratulated the Federal Trade Commission's decision to investigate the business practices of the six largest pharmacy benefit managers about prescription drug access and affordability.

The probe will target seven recent controversies surrounding the middlemen who act between insurers and payers. 

Main questions revolve around "potentially unfair audits of independent pharmacies" and the "complicated and opaque" business that determines pharmaceutical reimbursements, according to the FTC.

Here are three medical groups' reactions to the FTC investigation, listed alphabetically:

B. Douglas Hoey. CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association: "PBMs behave like monopolies," Mr. Hoey said in a written statement. "Their secretive, anticompetitive practices increase prescription drug prices, limit consumer choice, and stymie competition. They've escaped serious scrutiny for far too long, but this study will bring their dirty laundry out into the open."

Greg Reybold. Director of Healthcare Policy for the American Pharmacy Cooperative: "We are extremely pleased with the depth and scope of the information the FTC is requesting from these middlemen," Mr. Reybold wrote in a press release. "For years, PBMs have operated in a black box and FTC scrutiny of PBM practices that restrict patient access to care and raise prescription drug costs falls squarely within the commission's twin missions of protecting consumers and competition."

Ilisa Bernstein, PharmD. Interim Vice President and CEO of the American Pharmacists Association: "APhA welcomes the section 6(b) study on vertically merged PBMs and their uncompetitive and deceptive trade practices that force patients to use PBM-owned specialty, mail order and network pharmacies," she said in a June 7 statement. "APhA stands ready to help FTC as they collect this information and urges FTC to not only examine these anticompetitive practices, but to take the necessary actions to end them."

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