Tuberville Fights to Hold PBMs Accountable

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined 13 other U.S. Senators in urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to complete its investigation into pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The bipartisan group of senators is also requesting a status update on the investigation, which has now been open for over 18 months.

“We support the [FTC’s] issuance of a Section 6(b) order and conducting a timely study of pharmacy benefits managers’ (PBM) business practices,” the senators wrote in their letter. “With the FTC’s inquiry reaching its year-and-a-half mark, we urge the FTC to complete the study without delay. In the interim, we believe it is important to know the status of the study and therefore ask the FTC to issue a progress report.” 

The FTC launched its inquiry in June 2022 to review PBMs’ role in determining prices for prescriptions like insulin. That October, the bipartisan group of senators called on the FTC to expedite its investigation. Yesterday’s push for answers follows recent committee passage measures targeting prescription drug costs and directing heightened PBM oversight. 

  • February 2023: The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Prescription Drug Pricing for the People Act, a bill to require the FTC to study anti-competitiveness in the health care industry and report back to Congress. 
  • March 2023: The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation advanced the PBM Transparency Act, a bill to authorize the FTC to hold PBMs accountable for unfair or deceptive practices. 
  • July and November 2023: The Senate committees on Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions advanced bills to bolster transparency among PBMs. 

PBMs manage every aspect of the prescription drugs benefit process – from setting prescription prices, to deciding which drugs insurance plans cover and how they’re dispensed. Of the six companies under FTC investigation, three control nearly 80 percent of the market. Despite PBMs’ sweeping influence, neither Congress nor the taxpayer has adequate visibility into their operations.

Coach Tuberville and his colleagues are working to identify causes for the skyrocketing prices patients are paying for their prescriptions, as well as solutions to address them.  

Coach Tuberville is joined by U.S. Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Peter Welch (D-VT.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS.), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). 

Read the full letter here.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.