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Letter to the Editor: Pointing the finger in the wrong direction on prescription drug prices

Matt Degooyer’s recent op-ed, Addressing barriers to accessing biosimilars could help save Washington’s most vulnerable patients,” presents a misleading view regarding which parties in the prescription drug delivery system are responsible for the higher prices.

Contrary to Matt Degooyer’s claims in his recent piece, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) fully support increasing the use of biosimilars to lower prescription drug costs.  PBMs supported biosimilar legislation in Washington back in 2015.

In fact, by encouraging the use of generics and biosimilars, PBMs can significantly reduce prescription drug prices for millions of patients.

According to a recent study, PBMs could save the state of Washington nearly $23 billion in prescription drug spending over the next decade. This figure includes $12.6 billion in the commercial market, $8.8 billion in Medicare Part D and $1.4 billion in Medicaid.

Those savings don’t just appear out of thin air, they come from PBMs designing formularies that prioritize more affordable drugs.

In addition to reducing prescription drug costs, PBMs are also leading the charge to ensure that biosimilars can be substituted for biologics, when appropriate, in Washington State as well as across the country.

Bill Head is Assistant Vice President, State Affairs for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association

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