Cantwell, Grassley Lead Bipartisan Bill to Examine Activity of Prescription Drug Middlemen

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reintroduced legislation requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to study the role and recent merger activity of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), including possible anticompetitive behavior.

PBMs serve as middlemen in the prescription drug supply chain, but the industry has been under scrutiny for how it determines the prices of prescription drugs. The Prescription Pricing for the People Act requires the FTC to examine the effects of consolidation on pricing and other potentially abusive behavior within the PBM industry, and provide policy recommendations to Congress to improve competition and protect consumers.

“Greater transparency and oversight are needed to increase competition and make sure patients get a fair deal on the medications they need. People’s lives depend on access to affordable medicine,” said Cantwell.

“PBMs play a significant role in determining how much patients and the government pay for prescriptions. Much of their business model is cloaked in secrecy, and the industry has experienced significant consolidation in recent years. Our bill will provide Congress with a better understanding of the PBM industry, so any future legislation can better protect patients and safeguard competition,” Grassley said.

The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

A one-page summary of the bill can be found HERE, and full legislative text can be found HERE