The FTC action would target often high costs by trying to curb rebates it says drug makers pay to steer patients to their brand name products.

The Federal Trade Commission is getting ready to sue big health care companies, claiming that they are illegally maximizing profits by steering patients to high-cost drugs, according to four people with direct knowledge of the case discussions.

The pending case would target large pharmaceutical intermediaries owned by UnitedHealth Group, CVS and Cigna, claiming that they pushed patients to brand-name drugs, including insulin, according to the four people.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, federal regulators and patient advocates have focused on a key profit source for the middlemen: the rebates drug companies pay to get certain medications on a list of covered drugs. They say those rebates can inflate the cost of drugs.

    13 days ago

    I’m very excited the federal government is finally doing its damned job and investigating this shit. It is long, long, LONG overdue. PBMs are a shining example of “if you want to get away with something evil, hide it inside of something boring.”

    I hope they government finally gets some traction on it. I also hope some people running these PBMs go to prison. Though that is probably way too much to hope for. Because in the USA, we don’t punish wealthy people like that unless they commit the sin of ripping off other wealthy people (like Madoff or Holmes). Probably the best we can hope for is some heavy fines and tougher regulations. But these snakes almost always find a way to slither through new cracks. Most of these rent-seeking layers of middle-men should not even exist in healthcare.