Weekly Rx Roundup – May 21, 2023

FTC deepens inquiry into PBMs

(Courtesy of NCPA) As part of its ongoing inquiry into pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and their impact on the accessibility and affordability of prescription drugs, the Federal Trade Commission issued compulsory orders to two group purchasing organizations that negotiate drug rebates on behalf of other PBMs. The orders will require these entities to provide information and records on their business practices. Having previously issued compulsory orders to the six largest PBMs in the U.S. healthcare industry, the FTC yesterday issued two additional orders to Zinc Health Services, LLC, and Ascent Health Services, LLC.

House panel advances transparency and PBM bills

(Courtesy of Axios) On Wednesday, a House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced a health markup in a unanimous 27-0 vote to:

  • Codify and strengthen Trump-era rules for hospitals and insurers to make health care prices available and more transparent.
  • Impose new transparency requirements on PBMs and ban “spread pricing” in Medicaid, where PBMs charge more than they pay for a drug and keep the difference. Read more.

1 in 5 older adults skipped or delayed medications last year because of cost

(Courtesy of NBC News) A growing number of older adults say they can’t afford their prescription medications, a study published Thursday in JAMA Network Open found.

About 1 in 5 adults ages 65 and up either skipped, delayed, took less medication than was prescribed, or took someone else’s medication last year because of concerns about cost, according to the study. 

“That was pretty surprising,” said lead study author Stacie Dusetzina, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. A study published in the journal Medical Care found that in 2016 about 1 in 7 older adults were not taking their medication as prescribed because of cost.

“So a pretty big jump,” Dusetzina said. 

The study’s findings were based on a national survey taken by more than 2,000 older adults from June 2022 through September 2022. Read more.

Categorized as Updates