I saw an attack on pharamacy benefits managers recently by something called the "60 Plus" group. My first reaction in reading this was that “60 Plus” was one of those typical fly-by-night front groups, in this case set up by the “1950s pharmacists’” lobby – which believe it or not is called PUTT (not putz).
But 60 Plus turned out to be a 20-plus year-old legitimate group (although with a little too much love for Pat Boone for my blood). Not only is it not related to the old-fashioned pharmacists group but it is often accused of the opposite, being funded by the pharmaceutical manufacturers. In addition, supposedly the Koch-Brothers-not-Bill conglomerate funds them as do the makers of Listerine, and just about anyone else handing out money. Any group with so many bad things said about them by the left cannot be bad. It's just misguided on the subject of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).
Its anti-PBM editorial goes on about how good Part D has been at coming in under budget and also in helping people on Medicare manage their meds. What 60 Plus is complaining about is just natural market consolidation and it is the PBMs in particular that make that happen. That the five leading market participants control 80% of a market is the natural order of things and there is nothing wrong with it.
That the PBMs are owned by the drugstore chains is also fine; that is not Big PHARMA as the 60 Plus headline claims. Big PHARMA is the manufacturers, the natural opponents of the drugstores. What this article calls kick-back deals with Big PHARMA is how prices have been held down and Part D's cost has come in so far under initial projections.
And it is not true that anyone is required to use mail order pharmacies. So you can go down and visit Waldo the Druggist at the Rexall soda fountain if you want (and if you can find him in your area any more). But most of us seniors want the cost effectiveness the current Part D program provides.