Magazine article Workforce Management

Panel Meets to Begin Crafting Pbm Standards

Magazine article Workforce Management

Panel Meets to Begin Crafting Pbm Standards

Article excerpt

PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS

The latest effort to make more information about pharmacy benefit managers available to employers began July 25 when a committee of industry participants and observers began work on a set of standards that PBMs must meet in order to receive an industrywide seal of approval.

The meeting came a day after 10 PBMs-including two of the largest, Medeo Health Solutions and Caremark Rx-agreed to pass on their rebates and follow a set of standards detailed by a 56-employer purchasing coalition created by the HR Policy Association. Members of the group include Caterpillar and IBM.

During the past five years, however, PBMs have come under attack for not acting in the best interests of their clients, particularly tor not disclosing sweetheart deals with pharmaceutical companies and not passing savings from rebates on to their clients.

Despite fierce resistance from PBMs, insurance companies and chambers of commerce, laws governing the industry have been passed in several states and proposed in 24 others, much to the delight of doctors, drugstore chains and pharmacists.

Supporters say both the certification and accreditation will allow the marketplace to police itself.

"Mandates simply drive up the cost of doing business with PBMs for everyone, says Marianne Fazen, who is part of the National Business Coalition on Health and a board member of URAC, the organization that will manage the accreditation program.

Some provisions in state laws could find their way into the accreditation process, says Debra Friedman, senior vice president at URAC. …

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