Local News Station Highlights PBMs’ Effects On Consumers
By Consumers For Quality Care, on November 6, 2018
Wilmington’s WECT News recently highlighted a local pharmacist who is helping patients fight against drug price inflation. Gerald Michael, who runs a family owned pharmacy, recounts the discrepancies between what he pays for prescription medications and what the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) is telling him to charge patients. In one instance, a prescription that cost Michael $31 would cost a consumer more than $2,000 with the consumer’s insurance. When the PBM was bypassed, the same consumer owed only $44 for the drug. Michael says he fears that everyone is overpaying for medication. In fact, a recent study from the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics found that consumers are overpaying for prescription drugs nearly a quarter of the time. WECT suggests consumers ask questions and comparison shop to avoid overpaying. They say consumers should:
- Ask the pharmacist if the prescription would be cheaper without insurance.
- Comparison shop to price out the prescription at different pharmacies, including independent pharmacies.
- Ask their doctor or pharmacist if there’s a better alternative to the drug currently prescribed.