KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Prices Drop For PBMs; Pharmacy Lobby Opposes Survey Regarding Medicaid Prices

Prices are falling for major pharmacy benefit managers, such as Medco and CVS Caremark, as the firms compete for clients, but the falling rates "don't appear to be sliding into a frenzy of unreasonable pricing," The Wall Street Journal reports. "In the current 'selling season,' when PBMs look to sign customers for the following year, discounts on new contracts have deepened by one or two percentage points, on average, from a year ago. While PBMs are still lowering their pricing, the pace is slower than a year ago, when PBMs were willing to expand discounts by as much as five percentage points, according to benefit consultants who guide employers on choosing a vendor" (Brin, 8/11).

The Hill: Meanwhile, "[t]he pharmacy and drugstore lobbies are strongly objecting to a new effort by the federal government to gather more data on drug prices in the Medicaid program." The groups say the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) exceeded its legal authority when it recently put out a request for proposal requiring a 'nationwide survey of consumer purchase prices' for drugs at retail pharmacies that participate in Medicaid" (Pecquet, 8/11).

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