FTC Punts Probe of PBMs but Could Take Up Issue Again

  • Feb 24, 2022

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) won’t investigate PBMs’ business practices, despite considering a probe in a Feb. 17 meeting. The FTC’s four commissioners deadlocked 2-2 on a party line vote authorizing an investigation, with the two Democratic commissioners voting in favor of an investigation and the two Republicans voting against it.

    During the meeting, according to a transcript prepared by the agency, FTC Chair Lina Khan, a Democrat, proposed “the use of the commission’s investigative authority under section 6B of the FTC Act to issue orders to large pharmacy benefit managers, to study a range of their commercial practices, to give us better insight into their drug pricing practices and their contracts with pharmacies, including for the purpose of examining whether those contracts negatively impact independent or unaffiliated pharmacies over recent decades.”

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  • Peter Johnson

    Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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