Arlington, VA — The American Consumer Institute (ACI), an independent 501(c)(3) educational and research organization, today expressed concerns regarding the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) focus on consolidation in health care markets, particularly in relation to private ownership. ACI urges both agencies to instead prioritize the role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) in this ongoing issue.

Read the full comment here.

Key Takeaways:

  • Impact of Private Ownership: Research shows that private equity-owned healthcare facilities, including for-profit hospitals, often serve low-income communities and are instrumental in introducing new services and technologies without compromising patient care quality.
  • Problematic PBM Market: The highly consolidated PBM market, which is dominated by just three major players controlling 80% of the market, has significant transparency issues and is a larger concern for healthcare costs and access.
  • PBM Practices Limit Competition: PBMs engage in practices such as “spread pricing” and restrictive access to generics, which inflate costs for patients and insurers, including Medicare.
  • Need for Greater PBM Transparency: ACI recommends that HHS and FTC focus on increasing transparency in the PBM industry to foster competition, lower healthcare costs, and improve patient outcomes.

While the consolidation of healthcare providers has certain impacts, the American Consumer Institute stresses that the more pressing issue lies with the operations of Pharmacy Benefit Managers. We believe that addressing PBM practices offers the most effective pathway to enhancing competition in healthcare markets, reducing costs, and improving outcomes for patients. We call upon HHS and the FTC to reconsider their current focus and to direct their efforts towards implementing reforms in the PBM sector. We also urge policymakers, industry stakeholders, and the public to support initiatives aimed at increasing transparency and competition among PBMs.

For media inquiries, please email [email protected] to inquire about the above content.

The American Consumer Institute is a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org or follow us on X @ConsumerPal.