Another Battle in the Political Fight Over How to Address High Drug Prices
PCMA's lawsuit over the legality of the Trump-era drug price transparency rules is yet another battle in the ongoing war in Washington over how to effectively address high drug prices. While Congress grapples with how to come to a consensus over meaningful drug pricing legislation, PhRMA and PCMA continue to wage battle in the courts over various Trump Administration regulations.
Putting aside the merit of PCMA's legal arguments, their practical argument over the utility of such drug pricing information for consumers is compelling. The forced disclosure of highly confidential drug rebate and pricing information in a format that is not digestible or comprehensible for consumers seems to miss the mark. If implemented, the likely practical reality of this regulation is that it would be of little value to consumers, but would upend competitive drug discount negotiations between manufacturers and PBMs/payors and would be a treasure trove of information for plaintiff's attorneys and government enforcement agencies. Its hard to imagine how this will help consumers facing high drug prices at the pharmacy counter.
"These parts of the Trump administration’s transparency rule will drive prescription drug costs higher," the PCMA said in a release. "By requiring disclosure of 'historical' net prices, which are essentially current year net prescription drug prices, the rule will directly provide drug manufacturers access to their competitors’ negotiated rebates, discounts, and price concessions." "This in turn will allow drug manufacturers to discount less deeply as they realize their price concessions went beyond those of competitors," the PCMA said. The chamber's lawsuit challenges provisions that require pricing data to be made available in a massive, machine-readable file to allow third-party develop shopping tools for consumers. The organization, which represents a slew of employers and industries, said the requirements are not actually consumer-centric, and are "in fact counterproductive, wasteful, and unlawful.”