Bipartisan Respondents Strongly Favor Policies that Require PBMs to Provide Value and Lower Drug Costs
With pharmacy benefit managers – or PBMs – facing increased scrutiny among legislators and regulators, a new national poll finds that a majority of likely voters overwhelmingly support policies to regulate these middlemen health insurance companies and require PBMs to provide more value and lower drug costs.
The poll, conducted by the bipartisan polling team of Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research, found that 84% of likely voters say it’s important or very important to have rules that require PBMs to provide value and lower drug costs for consumers. What’s more, respondents want elected officials to take on the issue of regulating PBMs with 73% saying it should be a high or top priority for Congress and their state legislatures, and 72% saying they are more or much more likely to vote for a candidate who supports regulating PBMs.
“There is strong and unwavering support for regulation of PBMs among likely voters of all political stripes,” said David Mermin, Lake Research Partners. “And they are looking to their elected officials to make the changes necessary for patients to be able to access and afford their medications.”
Mark Blum, Managing Director of the PBM Accountability Project, said: “These findings make clear that Americans stand in strong support for eradicating perverse PBM incentives that raise, rather than lower, prescription drug prices. Even more important, the research shows that likely voters, regardless of party affiliation, strongly support specific policy solutions to ensure that patients will pay no more than necessary for the medicines they need.”
Respondents support a number of specific policies to regulate PBMs, including:
Requiring PBMs to pass discounts along to patients that they get from negotiating with prescription drug manufacturers (82% support)
Changing how PBMs profit so it’s not connected to the price of prescription drugs and they are not incentivized to drive up prices for patients (81% support)
Introducing more transparency into PBMs’ contracts and the prescription drug pricing process (81% support)
Requiring that insurance plans (like employer health plans) pay PBMs only a simple flat fee for their services, prohibiting PBMs from charging additional fees that ultimately get passed on to patients (80% support)
In addition, the negative impacts that PBMs have on patients generate very high levels of concern, with approximately three-quarters being concerned about every impact listed, including:
PBMs drive up the cost of prescription drug prices (79% concerned or very concerned)
PBMs hold a monopoly on the prescription drug market, allowing them to make unilateral decisions on prices (78% concerned or very concerned)
There is little oversight or regulation of PBMs (78% concerned or very concerned)
PBMs decide which drugs are available to consumers (78% concerned or very concerned)
The research findings can be found on the PBM Accountability website. The PBM Accountability Project, a partnership of stakeholders across healthcare, labor, business, pharmacy and consumer/patient advocacy, is working to educate the public and advance solutions to help redirect prescription drug savings from PBMs back to patients, employers, health plans and taxpayers.