Drug Middlemen Face State Probes Over Complex Pricing System

By Robert Langreth

Several states are probing pharmacy-benefit managers’ business practices in government-sponsored health programs, adding to the scrutiny the middlemen face in Washington for their role in the cost of drugs.

At least three state attorneys general are investigating PBMs, in addition to other state probes looking into how the companies contract with Medicaid and other programs. CVS Health Corp.Cigna Corp.’s Express Scripts unit and UnitedHealth Group Inc., which dominate the PBM market, are scheduled to appear before the Senate Finance Committee in Washington Tuesday to discuss their role as the nation grapples with soaring drug prices.

“I am concerned about the complexity of the system,” said Attorney General Dave Yost of Ohio, one of the states probing PBMs. “I am concerned that it is internally complex and that it may be for the purposes of deception…”

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