The Hidden Force Shaping Drug Prices – WHYY

Every time you get a prescription drug, you’re dealing with a middleman you’ve probably never heard of — one who has had a hand in how much your drug costs. The same middleman decides which drugs are covered by your insurance, and even which medications are prescribed by your doctor. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are powerful and important companies that have become connectors between pharma, insurance companies, pharmacies, and consumers. But many critics say they’ve become too powerful, and are driving up prescription drug costs for all of us. On this episode, we explore their role, and how they affect patient care, drug prices, and our health care choices. We hear stories about one cancer patient’s battle to get her medication, why independent pharmacists say PBMs are putting them out of business, and what a recent Supreme Court ruling means for reining in PBMs.

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