Pa. lawmakers signal interest in audits of 'pharmacy benefit managers'

Tony Romeo
February 16, 2019 - 4:00 am



HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- Pennsylvania lawmakers are indicating an interest in giving the state auditor general power to review “pharmacy benefit managers.”

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says “pharmacy benefit managers” or “PBMs” are the “middle people” who negotiate with drug-makers and retailers to determine what drugs are in your insurance plan, and what the prices will be.

DePasquale says the Keystone State pays big money to PBMs through contracts with managed care organizations.

“Here’s the problem,” he said. “Because of that, I’m not able to audit the pharmacy benefit managers, even though in 2012 they got about a billion dollars in state tax dollars, and in 2017, yes… $3 billion.”

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DePasquale says he’s not convinced PBMs lower the price of drugs, but he does believe they are driving independent pharmacies out of business.

His comments came at state House Appropriations Committee budget hearings.

The committee chairman says he shares DePasquale’s concerns and invited him to propose legislation to allow for auditing the pharmacy benefit managers.