There is an Inspector Clouseau quality to how Washington policymakers address the challenge of high prescription drug prices. For years, elected officials have demanded that action be taken to bring down pharmaceutical costs. And yet, even though they have the evidence right in front of them as to the parties that bear considerable responsibility for this problem, no meaningful reforms have been enacted.
The recent decision by the Federal Trade Commission to investigate pharmacy benefit managers — PBMs or “middlemen” — will shine a much-needed spotlight on this vastly unregulated industry. Regulatory agencies and Congress have signaled a renewed commitment to curtail what PBMs are doing to patients, consumers and community pharmacies to address escalating drug prices and provide Americans with access, choice and affordability when it comes to buying the medicines they need.