On November 17th, ASBM’s Immediate Past Chair Madelaine Feldman, MD, FACR testified at a public hearing of the Congressional Oversight Committee. Entitled “Reviewing the Role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in Pharmaceutical Markets”, the hearing examined the role of PBMs in contributing to higher drug prices. From Dr. Feldman’s testimony:

The out-of-pocket costs for these miraculous RA medications – as well as medications for many other serious, chronic illnesses – have risen to levels where many patients simply can no longer afford them, and that is true even for biosimilars. Clearly, something is not working the way Congress intended. That something begins with the formulary…

High drug prices are not a mere byproduct of this system; they are at the heart of its design, since a drug’s list price must be high so as to offer “headroom” for these discounts, rebates, and fees to the PBM. This creates a broken market in which competition actually raises prices. In this way, our drug pricing system is more akin to selling a house [winner = highest bidder] than building a house [winner = lowest bidder].

Read more about the Oversight Committee hearing here.

Read Dr. Feldman’s full testimony here.