Back to Blog

A Call to Congress: Safeguard Affordable Prescription Drugs for Employers and Patients


The stakes have rarely been higher for Americans struggling with high drug prices. As the House and Senate debate bills that risk major upheaval to Americans’ pharmacy benefits, bringing down drug prices will likely feature prominently throughout the 2024 presidential campaign.

A recent event hosted by Real Clear Politics put a spotlight on the potential harms of restricting Americans’ pharmacy benefits, especially at a time when Big Pharma’s drug prices continue to rise. The panel featured CAPD spokesperson Maura Keefe; Alex Brill, Founder and CEO, Matrix Global Advisors; and Ike Brannon, President, Capital Policy Analytics.

Speaking at the event, Keefe discussed the economic environment continues to challenge employers as they seek to offer benefits: “Employers are having a more and more difficult time affording health care for their employees, affording prescription drug coverage.” She added, “That’s exactly why they partner with PBMs – to help negotiate lower drug prices from Pharma.”

Keefe highlighted recent research by CAPD showing that employers are satisfied with their PBM’s work: “9 in 10 employers value the full range of PBM contract options they have, [and] the ability to utilize rebates the way that make sense for their companies.”

Keefe also noted how Congress’ actions may hurt businesses that provide health insurance to millions of Americans. She stated, “At CAPD, we really want to make sure that policymakers think about the employers and the employers voice because 91% of employers said it was important to have flexibility and choice in how their organizations use rebate dollars.” Keefe added, “If you are a small business, you need flexibility,” noting that some of these Congressional actions would fall hardest on smaller employers.

Instead, Keefe said, Congress should focus on bringing more affordable drugs to patients faster. “The way to lower prices in a free-market system is competition…We need to stop some of the patent manipulation that keeps lower cost generics and biosimilars from getting to the market sooner.”

Ike Brannon, of the Jack Kemp Foundation, and Alex Brill, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, echoed this sentiment and emphasized the value of PBMs. Brannon noted the economic argument for PBMs’ work, saying, “The most important thing PBMs do is negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to get lower prices.”

Alex Brill extended this, arguing there could be severe consequences if Congress hinders the ability of PBMs to lower costs. “As you take away the tools and incentives for PBMs, they might not do as well at driving down prices,” he said. “There will be winners and losers from that. The winners would be drug manufacturers, and the losers would be the employers who get higher premiums.”

You can watch the full event on RealClearPolitics’ website. To learn more about what employers value in their pharmacy benefit managers, or how Big Pharma games the patent system to keep prices high, visit our website.