PBMs send another ad message to DC lawmakers, this time on drug price negotiations

Woman paying for a prescription at a pharmacy
Another ad campaign and plea to lawmakers drops from PCMA as the battle around rebates continues. (Getty/Tom Merton)

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, under threat from the Trump administration's proposal to revamp drug rebates, has another message for policymakers.

Just weeks after it launched ads touting the value of pharmacy benefit managers for patients, the trade group debuted a campaign arguing for continued Medicare and Medicaid negotiating power.

The new print and digital ad campaign pushes back on the Trump administration’s recent proposal to overhaul the rules around PBMs, Medicare Part D and Medicaid managed care plan negotiations with drugmakers.

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For pharma, the current proposal—which experts expect will be fine-tuned if it makes its way through Congress—would allow drug discounts in Medicare and Medicaid only if given to patients, not PBMs, turning the drug middlemen into fee-for-service providers for the federal health programs.

RELATED: With PBMs gaining power, pharma and ad agencies zero in on payer marketing

The tagline on the new PCMA ads is “Don’t play politics with Medicare beneficiaries’ prescription drug coverage.”

A PCMA spokesman said the work is a new and separate advocacy campaign that aims “to protect the savings PBMs generate for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.” One of the print ads depicts a group of senior citizens talking, and it includes a direct question to lawmakers at the bottom: "Are you sure this is a good idea?"

The PCMA campaigns come amid pharma’s own defense to lawmakers around drug pricing. Seven Big Pharma executives testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday with many of them blaming middlemen like PBMs—and the rebates drugmakers pay to them—for drug price increases. While each executive offered their own answers to a wide range of questions from lawmakers, most agreed that rebates are a problem and several offered specific proposals to address the issue.

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