Opinion: The White House’s about-face on drug rebates is a loss for public health

None of the $166 billion in discounts that pharmacy benefit managers get from pharmaceutical companies is used to reduce patients' out-of-pocket costs when they need medicines.

Even in the complicated ecosystem of drug pricing, one fact stands out: $166 billion in discounts from pharmaceutical companies go directly into the coffers of pharmacy benefit managers. That’s 37% of our nation’s entire expense on drugs.

Not a single dollar of that largesse is used to reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs when they need medicines. So when the White House to change the dynamic by banning many rebates drug companies pay to pharmacy benefit managers under Medicare, policy experts applauded. That, the victim of intense lobbying and general ignorance. Who loses? Patients. Who wins? The status quo.

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