Jul 9, 2024

Mike Pompeo, former U.S. Secretary of State, and Ike Brannon, senior fellow at the Jack Kemp Foundation recently published op-eds in FOX News and RealClearMarkets correcting the record on the critical value of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who leverage market forces to reduce prescription drug costs in health care.

The market-based role of PBMs has been under fire from an alliance between Big Government politicians on the Left, Big Media outlets like The New York Times, and Big Pharma — which started the vilification of PBMs in a bid to shift attention for high drug prices and boost the bottom line of drug companies at the expense of everyone else.

Former Secretary of State Pompeo and Brannon, like many other proponents of free markets and the wellbeing of consumers, see right through the Big Pharma-Big Government-Big Media agenda to mischaracterize PBMs as an attempt to undermine our free market in health care. Republican lawmakers should listen closely or the dangerous alternative would be increased costs for businesses, taxpayers, and consumers — less freedom for employers — and higher profits for Big Pharma.

See what other conservative leaders had to say about The New York Times’ one-sided hit piece HERE.

Pompeo explains how PBMs drive down costs in his piece in FOX News:

Pharmacy benefit managers have long played a crucial role in keeping drug prices down. Indeed, our free-market health care system only works for consumers, patients and families if the various players are able to negotiate and compete, which is what ultimately allows patients access to lower prices. 

“PBMs do just that: By negotiating with drug manufacturers, they secure lower drug prices for insurance companies so that patients and families win. As someone who ran two small businesses in Kansas, I know the value this kind of service can provide…

“For example, The New York Times recently published a concerningly slanted report asserting that PBMs inflate drug prices, while mischaracterizing contracting and payment options that employers choose and value. Conspicuously absent from the piece is the fact that PBMs have no control over pricing. In fact, new data from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science found the list prices, which are not set by PBMs, increased nearly 5% in 2023.”

Read Pompeo’s full piece in FOX News HERE.

Ike Brannon also dives into how PBMs act as a critical check against Big Pharma and leverage market power to drive down costs for health plan sponsors in his op-ed in RealClearMarkets:

“Pharmacy benefit managers help health insurers, unions, large employers, and various government entities manage their drug formularies, and one of those tasks entails negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry to reduce the cost of pricey prescription drugs that are under patents. 

“They are able to procure these discounts because they accumulate a modicum of market power by representing numerous health providers, which allows them to counter the monopolistic power government patents provide drug companies. They also have expertise in drug negotiations that most companies lack…

“PBMs are a counterweight to government-granted monopolies and are the only entities that have any leverage to help healthcare providers obtain cutting-edge drugs in an affordable manner. If the Times does not like them having market power and its fantasy of having the government set the prices for all drugs (and everything else, of course) is not yet reality, how would it reduce the drug prices set by pharmaceutical companies? Would it simply rely on their goodwill towards man?”

Read Ike Brannon’s full piece HERE.