Washington Week: Drugmakers, PBMs Hammered Over High Drug Prices
WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress blamed and shamed key players in the pharmaceutical market for high drug prices, while also asking for their help; and the Trump administration quietly advanced its block grant strategy for Medicaid. Drugmakers, PBMs Run the Gauntlet at House Hearing No punches were thrown, but tensions were high during a House hearing on Wednesday, as witnesses representing drug companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) fought to shield themselves from blame for high insulin prices, and desperate and dying patients. Members of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, mostly Democrats, leveled a number of threats around price-fixing, and turning PBMs into utilities or getting rid of them entirely. "You're in trouble ... If you think you can out-talk us without any transparency, without any accountability, I just want you to know your days are numbered," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to drugmakers after highlighting how "curiously close in price" each one's product was -- in the range of $270-$280.
In the Senate, PBMs Plead Innocent Senators chastised pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) for using backdoor tactics and secret schemes that make drugs costlier to patients than they otherwise would be, during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday.