Nicolas Ferreyros, managing director at Community Oncology Alliance (COA), discusses the recent Senate commerce hearing on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which brought bipartisan attention and energy towards addressing the concerns related to PBMs in Washington.
While the outcome of the ongoing Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) is uncertain, there are other developments in Congress that indicate movement towards reform, says Nicolas Ferreyros, managing director, Community Oncology Alliance.
What do you think were the most important takeaways from the latest Senate hearing on PBMs?
The biggest takeaway from the Senate commerce hearing on pharmacy benefit managers is that it is now a front and center bipartisan issue. What we are hearing in Washington, “Okay, they've passed the inflation Reduction Act, they've tackled negotiation, and Medicare.” And so, they think that maybe there's a win in the column for drug prices. But, you know, there's still that 800-pound gorilla in the room of pharmacy benefit managers that they need to tackle. And if nothing out of that hearing was shown, it’s that there is bipartisan energy behind reform and investigation of PBMs.
Is there a timeline on the FTC investigation, and what should practices and individual doctors expect?
It's anybody's guess when the FTC investigation on PBMs is going to come out. We spent hours, I mean, countless hours on the phone with the FTC giving them information, putting them in contact with subject matter experts, practices, pharmacies, to learn about, sort of the dirty tricks that PBMs employ.
These types of investigations can be long and they can be bureaucratic; who's to say when they come out. But luckily, the FTC investigation is not the only thing happening in Washington. You have the Senate commerce hearing; you have a number of bills both in the Senate and in the House right now. There is movement on PBMs, and we're very hopeful this year that Congress is going to make something happen.