Survey on Drug Costs: Employers Prefer Private Sector Solutions

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 Drug News J E 4
Executives Fear Government Intervention Will Increase Costs

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's employers are concerned about high drug prices and think private sector solutions would address the issue more effectively than government intervention, according to a national survey from North Star Opinion Research released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). By a 3-1 margin, they believe new government mandates would lead to higher – not lower – drug costs.

"Employers' concerns about high drug prices are real but so are their fears that new government mandates – however well intended – would make things worse.  They believe the answers lie in the private sector," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

North Star Opinion Research conducted the survey of 400 small business owners and medium-to-large business executives. The respondents include 100 small business (100 employees or less) owners, 100 medium business (101 to 1,000 employees) c-level executives, and 200 large business (1,001 employees or more) c-level executives.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • When it comes to pharmacy benefits, employers' top concern is reducing costs.  When asked to choose their top two most important objectives, 54% cited reducing overall costs and 45% cited reducing premiums and other out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Very few cited contracting issues such as "transparency" of payments to drugstores (9%) or rebates to pharmacy benefit managers (4%) as a priority.
  • By more than a two-to-one margin, employers think private companies are better able than the federal government to manage prescription drug benefits. Seventy percent think the private sector is better equipped than government to manage pharmacy benefits.
  • Three-fifths of these business leaders believe adding new government health regulations would raise prescription drug prices. While most employers think drug companies are primarily to blame for higher costs (54%) even more think new government mandates would make the problem worse. Sixty percent of employers say new government interventions would lead to higher prices while only 18% say they would lower prices. The other 22% say new policies would have no effect on prices.
  • Despite concerns about drug prices, nine-in-ten employers are satisfied with their existing pharmacy benefits.  While reducing prescription drug costs is their top priority, these business leaders are satisfied with the drug benefits they can provide by a 91% to 9% margin. Not surprisingly, then, 95% of these owners and executives are satisfied with the company they've hired to that manage their prescription drug benefits.
  • Of the three-quarters of companies that offer mail-service pharmacy to their employees, more than nine-in-ten say their employees are satisfied with the service.  Seventy-six percent of owners and executives say their company offers mail-service pharmacy as part of their prescription drug benefits; among those, 95% say their employees are satisfied with mail-service pharmacy. Also, companies that offer mail-service pharmacy are more satisfied (92%) with their benefits than those that do not (84%.).

PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs administer prescription drug plans for more than 266 million Americans who have health insurance from a variety of sponsors including: commercial health plans, self-insured employer plans, union plans, Medicare Part D plans, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), state government employee plans, managed Medicaid plans, and others.


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association



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