Middlemen Who Save $$ On Medicines — But Maybe Not For You

May 21, 2018

Francis Ying, Julie Appleby, and Stephanie Stapleton, Kaiser Health News

Guess who’s back grabbing headlines? Pharmacy benefit managers — those companies that serve as middlemen in the prescription drug pipeline. President Donald Trump’s plan to reduce the cost of medicines targets so-called PBMs as primary culprits behind the nation’s out-of-control drug prices. At KHN, we were talking about them last week and have written about their role in the marketplace for some time.

But consumers often don’t notice or understand PBMs and how they factor into determining costs at the pharmacy counter. This KHN video, brought out from our vault, details the emergence of these multimillion-dollar corporations and the impact they have on medication costs and patients’ access to treatments.



For more information on drug pricing issues, check out this chart and these videos:

Tracking Who Makes Money On A Brand-Name Drug

Sounds Like A Good Idea? Regulating Drug Prices

The Orphan Drug Machine

KHN also offers other videos examining hot topics such as selling insurance across state lines, high-risk insurance pools, Medicare’s observation care status and how the health law could be disassembled through the congressional budget reconciliation process.


KHN’s coverage of prescription drug development, costs and pricing is supported in part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and its coverage in California is funded in part by Blue Shield of California FoundationKaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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