A pharmacy business model that’s bad for pharmacy and bad for some patients

We’ve all heard about and experienced the impact of high medication costs in recent years (http://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/diabetes/insulin-prices-rising/article/640087/). While the ACA has increased the number of people who can obtain insurance, it has done nothing to help patients actually afford their medications. While there is no one person to blame, there is one piece of the puzzle that has a domino effect on medication costs.  The Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) is a 4thparty in the mix of insurance that directly manages the prescription benefit for insurance companies.  It is the PBM who negotiates with manufacturers, insurance companies, and pharmacies. It is the PBM that offers different ‘formularies’ to health plans, in many cases disenfranchising patients who may need medications not on the ‘formulary’. A perfect example is the insulin marketplace.  (http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/desperate-families-driven-black-market-insulin-n730026)  Here is a good visual and explanation of how PBM’s work: )  I think they have created a perfect storm of healthcare inefficiency that costs patients access to medications and increases the overall cost of healthcare. Why?  I could list a bunch of reasons, but what do you think?

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