STAT+: Pharmalittle: We’re reading about an FTC report on PBMs, Lilly vs. Novo weight loss study, and more

Top of the morning to you, and a fine one it is. Clear blue skies are enveloping the Pharmalot campus, although we expect the steam to rise any moment now. As for us, we are engaged in the usual rituals — firing up the coffee kettle in order to brew a cup of stimulation (our choice once again is maple bourbon) and foraging for items of interest. On that note, here are a few tidbits to help you get started on your journey today, which we hope will be productive and meaningful. Meanwhile, please do keep in touch….

In stark terms, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission released a report describing pharmacy benefit managers as wielding such “enormous power” that these companies can affect the ability of many Americans to access and afford their medicines, STAT writes. The agency noted that the three largest PBMs processed nearly 80% of the roughly 6.6 billion prescriptions dispensed by U.S. pharmacies in 2023. And the six largest PBMs processed more than 90% of the prescriptions. Moreover, the FTC found the prescription drug market is “highly concentrated” because the largest PBMs are owned by insurers and, in turn, own specialty, mail order or retail pharmacies.

Six key pharma-friendly lawmakers who were in office when Democrats passed a historic drug pricing reform law will likely have left Capitol Hill by the beginning of 2025, according to STAT. Between them, they have 160 combined years of service in Congress, and will take that century and a half of knowledge about legislating on complex health care issues when they leave. Perhaps a bigger problem for the pharmaceutical industry is that some of their replacements are less friendly to the industry, less interested in health care, and less influential at a time when both presidential candidates are using drugmakers as a punching bag.

Continue to STAT+ to read the full story…

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