A quick refresher: the prescription drug market is a debacle. It is a dysfunctional system orchestrated by middlemen companies called pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that control access to drugs, set prices and reap massive profits. The PBM oligopoly robs consumers of choice by eliminating the ability to shop for prescriptions or have true transparency on costs. As a result, we incur real costs – time, money and health.
A market dictated by PBMs fails to keep up with the health and financial needs of consumers. In 2019, high prescription drug prices led 28 percent of pre-Medicare-age Americans to abandon their medication regimens, decrease their recommended dosage and delay refills. Moreover, traditional PBMs prevent consumers from shopping for prescription drugs the way they shop for any other product today – with price transparency, informed choice and mobile convenience.
The traditional PBM structure institutionalizes the prescription drug debacle. It props up a system that is out of sync with modern consumer expectations and that disempowers patients, driving up costs and ultimately making us less healthy. It’s time for a new model that places consumers at the center, armed with the information and choice to take control of their prescription drug purchasing – and most importantly, their health.