FTC Votes to Issue Statement Withdrawing Prior Pharmacy Benefit Manager Advocacy

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission voted Thursday to issue a statement cautioning against reliance on prior advocacy statements and studies related to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that no longer reflect current market realities. The statement is a response to PBMs’ continued reliance on older FTC advocacy materials that opposed mandatory PBM transparency and disclosure requirements, and it warns against reliance on the Commission’s prior conclusions, particularly given the FTC’s ongoing study of the PBM industry to update its understanding of the industry and its practices.

The Commission’s statement warns against relying on nine advocacy letters published or issued between 2004 and 2014 that advocated against proposals to increase regulatory oversight and transparency of PBMs. The statement also cautions against reliance on a 2004 joint report with the Department of Justice and a 2005 FTC study, as these reports may no longer accurately reflect the current PBM industry.

Until the FTC’s current PBM study is complete and previously issued materials can be reevaluated, the Commission discourages reliance on these advocacy letters and reports.

The Commission voted 3-0 during an open meeting to issue the statement withdrawing prior PBM advocacy. Chair Lina M. Khan and Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter each issued a statement.

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