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Around the Web — 11.22.22

Pharmacy benefits managers could find themselves in the crosshairs of Congress in coming months, the Wall Street Journal reports: “Targeting PBMs has increasingly become a bipartisan issue in recent years. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has been among those leading the way in Congress. Last year, for instance, he conducted a bipartisan investigation with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, which shed light on how rebates are pushing up the price of list prices for insulin. The news report points to a recent University of Southern California study showing that the “share of a hypothetical $100 insulin expenditure accruing to manufacturers decreased by 33%” between 2014 and 2018. “During that same period, total U.S. spending on insulin hasn’t budged, but the share of insulin expenditures retained by PBMs has increased by 155%.”

Honest Rx is a Staunton, VA, pharmacy that does not accept health insurance, according to an article and video report on Stat. “Pharmacist and owner Matthew Garner opened his business in 2022, after over 20 years of working in and managing other pharmacies. In that time, companies like CVS have become behemoths by merging with pharmacy benefit managers and insurers,” the reporter writes. “Garner observed how chain pharmacies, insurers, and pharmacy benefit managers obscured the true cost of drugs, so he set out to open a pharmacy with a wholly transparent business model that supplies affordable medication directly to patients. Garner sells most medications at wholesale cost plus 20% and a $6.50 dispensing fee.”

Universal oral health coverage by 2030 is envisioned in a WHO report issued last week. The report “presents a snapshot of the most recent data on major oral diseases, risk factors, health system challenges and opportunities for reform” and reaches the conclusion that “the status of global oral health is alarming and requires urgent action.”