Middlemen that negotiate drug discounts are under fire from drugmakers who say that secret rebates aren’t always shared with patients.
In a new report, the company said U.S. drug costs for its employer, union and other commercial plans rose just 1.5% last year, on a per-person basis, the smallest increase in the more than two decades the company has been measuring it. Costs declined for nearly half of its commercial clients, when rebates are included.
Without middlemen, drugmakers “would charge whatever they want,” said Glen Stettin, an Express Scripts senior vice president . “We’ve taken a lot of their pricing power away.”
Stettin credited the slower growth in drug costs to aggressive steps Express Scripts has taken to secure greater discounts for high-cost drugs, including expensive injected anti-inflammatory drugs, a category that includes blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira.