State attorneys general call for federal PBM reforms

State attorneys general are urging Congress to pass three bills that would reform pharmacy benefit manager practices and bring more transparency to their work. 

A bipartisan group of 39 state attorneys general sent a letter to Senate and House leaders Feb. 20, highlighting the urgent need for federal action. While efforts to regulate PBMs are occurring on the state level, many PBMs routinely try to obstruct regulatory efforts by refusing to disclose data to regulators and their own clients, the attorneys general said.

"The FTC and Congress must act to ensure fulsome regulation of PBMs nationwide," they wrote in the letter. "Such legislation should reform PBM practices to curtail their ability to unreasonably raise the price of drugs and to require greater transparency."

The three bills mentioned in the letter are the DRUG Act, the Protecting Patients Against PBM Abuses Act and The Lower Costs, More Transparency Act. This legislation would mandate steps for PBMs to increase transparency into their practices, including by sharing standardized pricing data with health plans and state and federal lawmakers, according to a Feb. 21 news release from the National Association of Attorneys General. 

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, a trade group representing PBMs, has asserted that PBM-negotiated rebates are not linked to drug prices. In a Feb. 7 statement, the association urged federal lawmakers to hold drugmakers accountable for high drug prices.  

Editor's note: Becker's has reached out to PCMA for comment on the call for federal PBM reforms from state attorneys general and will update the article if more information becomes available.

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