For a professor of pharmaceutical ethics, John Jones’ recent Another Voice column, “Blame drugmakers for high-priced drugs,” is a disappointing example of the kind of ethical blindness that has left our health care system with the problem of insanely high drug costs.
There is no doubt that drugmakers share the blame for high drug prices. But they are just one part of a larger drug system that is broken. If our country truly wants to lower drug prices, then it should take a long hard look at the role played by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
It is no longer a secret that PBMs are a dominant player in the U.S. health care system. Today, just three PBMs control prescription drug benefits for 80 percent of Americans. They make billions of dollars in profits as middlemen in our health care system while delivering no actual patient care. In fact, what they do to the patients forced to use them often feels like just the opposite.
Every day my inbox is flooded with pleas for help from cancer clinics across the country struggling to help patients stuck in the bureaucratic purgatory of PBMs.