Battle Over Proposal To Disclose Drug Price Deals
"Some Democratic lawmakers looking for ways to overhaul the nation's health-care system are targeting the companies that handle drug benefits for more than 210 million Americans, setting off a lobbying battle over how much pricing information the companies should disclose," The Wall Street Journal reports. The version of health legislation passed last month by the House Energy and Commerce Committee "includes provisions that could overhaul how pharmacy-benefit managers -- middlemen hired by insurers to administer prescription-drug benefits -- operate. It would require them to inform the government or federally approved health plans about differences between the average cost of drugs to the PBM and what the PBM charges insurers." It also would require that they "disclose rebates they receive from drug makers for pushing certain pills and say whether those rebates are passed on to insurers."
Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., lead sponsor of the provisions, says the legislation would "cut down on inside deals that benefit only the PBMs and the drug companies" The WSJ notes that the "PBMs argue such secrecy is necessary to negotiate lower prices" (Zhang, 8/19).