PBMs continue war against rebate rule with new campaign

Drug prices
PCMA has launched a new campaign pushing for a full rollback of the rebate rule. (Getty/Tero Vesalainen)

Pharmacy benefit managers are continuing their war against the Trump administration's rebate rule with a new campaign.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) is launching a series of ads as well as a podcast critiquing the rule, with the goal of pushing Congress to fully repeal the regulation. The rule would eliminate safe harbor protections for drug rebates in Medicare Part D and instead offer them to discounts passed directly to consumers at the pharmacy counter.

PBMs secured a major win in late January when the Biden administration agreed to delay the rule's start date to Jan. 1, 2023 following a lawsuit filed by PCMA.

However, PBMs still want to see the rule fully rolled back, said JC Scott, CEO of PCMA, in a statement.

RELATED: PCMA sues Trump administration over rebate rule

“We applaud the Biden Administration for delaying the rebate rule’s effective date in order to further examine the rule’s impact on Medicare beneficiaries,” Scott said. “There is no question that the rebate rule would significantly raise premiums in Medicare Part D while increasing the program’s costs to taxpayers."

"As long as this rule remains in place, there will be uncertainty and risk for seniors. It’s time to close the book on the rebate rule and begin working on real solutions to lower drug price prices and out-of-pocket costs in Medicare and for all patients," Scott said.

Alongside the ad campaign, PCMA posted an interactive map that displays how much Part D premiums could rise in each state, based on estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

That premiums would likely increase significantly was a key point of contention within the Trump White House over the rule, which initially scuttled it in July 2019 before reviving it and quickly finalizing it late last year.