PBMs grilled by Senate Committee on drug prices

|About: Cigna Corporation (CI)|By:, SA News Editor

The U.S. Senate's Finance Committee is conducting a hearing today with executives of pharmacy benefit management firms. Attendees: CVS Health (CVS -0.1%) EVP Derica Rice, OptumRx (UNH +0.3%) CEO John Prince, Cigna (CI +1.4%) Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Steve Miller, Prime Therapeutics interim President Mike Kolar and Humana (HUM -0.2%) President of healthcare services William Fleming.

Fleming: "2% of members receive specialty drugs that comprise 36% of total Medicare Part D spending. We anticipate that Part D will be changed where rebates from drugmakers will be applied at point of sale. 83% of patients will pay more while 17% will save."

Prince: "Pharma companies engage in anti-competitive practices like pay-to-delay deals with generic firms and evergreening patents (extending patents on older drugs)."

Kolar: "High drug prices must be addressed. Competition is the answer. Patent abuses and restrictions on formularies and utilization management result in less competition and higher costs."

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR): "There is little evidence that PBMs are lowering drug prices."

Questions by committee members have been rather general. More could be accomplished if the committee included persons who were more familiar with the business.

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