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New group blames PBM's and hospitals for rising drug prices

Published on 04/10/18 at 11:14am

A new group, organised under the banner of the Alliance to Protect Medical Innovation, is blaming hospitals and PBM’s for rising healthcare costs.

The organisation, which popped up at the end of September this year, has arisen in the midst of a wider effort to shift the blame for rising drug prices away from pharma companies and onto other players in the healthcare industry.

Following Trump’s attacks on ‘Pfizer and Others’ earlier this year, the pharmaceutical industry, led by PhRMA, launched attacks against hospitals and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM’s) blaming them for the rising costs associated with healthcare and pharmaceutical drugs.

The dispute has led to outright confrontation between PhRMA and the American Hospitals Association (AHA) who declared that “The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released yet another 'report' in an obvious attempt to divert attention away from a problem of their own making: skyrocketing drug prices.”

However the appearance of the new group marks yet another advancement made in the sector-wide civil war that has plagued the American pharmaceutical industry in recent months.

On their website the organisation directs readers to a ‘Learn the facts’ section in which the first question asks: “What are Pharmacy Benefit Managers and how do they make drugs more expensive?” The answer in bold is that “many PBMs pocket large chunks of these rebates as profits.”

Meanwhile the section boasts of the pharmaceutical industry’s achievements as it suggests that: “Since 1995, the death rates for patients with HIV/AIDS has decreased by 85 percent, Since 2001, heart disease death rates have declined by 30 percent, Since 1991, cancer death rates have gone down by 22 percent.”

While there is still time for the organisation to gain power and influence, with just four tweets and nine news stories posted online, the mysterious alliance is still in making its first steps. In contrast the powerful pharmaceutical trade lobby PhRMA was founded in 1958. Nevertheless the opaque organisation is still one to watch.

Louis Goss

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