PBM Tools Slowing Cost Of Prescription Drug Benefits

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A new survey of employers that finds the utilization of pharmacy benefit management tools has helped to slow the cost of prescription drug benefits highlights the value of proven pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) tools in increasing savings and access for payors and consumers, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said today.

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The survey, from the consulting firm Mercer, LLC, finds that prescription drug costs increased an average of 9.3 percent in 2007, approximately half the annual rate of increase in prescription costs in 2000. According to Mercer, the rate of increase in prescription drug spending has slowed each year since 2000 "as employers and their pharmacy benefit managers have made changes to drug benefit design."

"These latest data confirm what numerous other government and independent studies have also determined: utilization of proven PBM tools -- tiered copayment structures, generics, and the mail-service pharmacy option -- drive down prescription drug costs for payors," said PCMA President & CEO Mark Merritt.

The survey also shows that PBMs increasingly offer the choice of "transparent" and "pass-through" models to their clients, although only one-in-five employers plan to choose these options. The survey found employers are increasingly focused on finding innovative ways to manage specialty and biotech spending. To this end, PCMA strongly supports the development of a clear regulatory pathway for biogenerics to facilitate competition and therefore lower costs for employers and consumers.

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