Biden Team Plans to Raise Costs of Prescription Drugs for All Americans

America’s unique free-market system has enabled the production of products and health care for its citizens that take a backseat to none. However, foolish and misguided thinking at the government level now threatens to make drug prices unaffordable for senior citizens and families.

By targeting pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will advance the Biden administration’s war on American business, raise drug costs for all citizens, and expand government power.

Instead of going along with the FTC’s policies that will hurt families and patients, Congress must stop it.

Pharmacy benefit managers have long played a significant role in keeping drug prices down. Our free-market healthcare system only works for patients, families, and consumers if the numerous players can compete and negotiate, which ultimately allows patients access to lower prices.

PBMs do that. By negotiating with drug manufacturers, they negotiate lower drug prices for insurance companies, which benefits families and patients. 

This is why health plans, unions, employers, and even government plans like Medicaid and Medicare choose to hire PBMs—they are highly effective at negotiating with drug manufacturers to secure savings on those drugs. Almost every American employer today hires a PBM, and over 275 million Americans receive their pharmacy benefits through one of about 70 companies that offer these services.

We should be crystal clear about this: Without PBMs, families’ prescription drug costs would soar. Our representatives must oppose unnecessary and new government regulations in this space, whether government-run health care, ObamaCare, or efforts to hamstring PBMs in the marketplace. 

Unfortunately, under Commissioner Lina Khan, the FTC has been dedicated to widening government authority and implementing the Biden administration’s radical agenda, which makes life more costly and worse for Americans at all levels. Legacy media outlets support these efforts, with anecdotal reporting driving a narrative detached from reality.

For example, The New York Times recently published a concerningly slanted report. The report asserts that PBMs inflate drug prices while mischaracterizing payment and contracting options that employers value and choose.

Conspicuously absent from the Times piece is the fact that PBMs have no control over prices. New IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science data found that list prices, which PBMs don’t set, increased by 5% in 2023.

Inflation caused by the disastrous economic policies of the Biden administration, combined with a revived push by Democrats to increase taxes and reverse Trump-era tax cuts, has many congressional legislators rightly looking for solutions to address rising prices for their constituents, including prescription drugs.

Going after private entities and granting additional power to the federal government would be the worst way to address the problem.

Eliminating or weakening PBMs would only worsen the drug price crisis families have been experiencing over the past four years.

With this approach, big government and big pharma win. Americans lose.

We should pursue solutions that can deliver savings for Americans by empowering our free market rather than limiting it. 

That is why if legislators wish to tackle the issue of increasing prescription drug prices, they should zero in their focus on the system of patents.

Our current laws permit some bad actors in the drug manufacturing industry to take older drugs with expiring patents and replace them with a newer version with a fresher patent, which permits them to keep prices high while avoiding increased competition. This is the crucial reason why specific drug prices remain high, and we can only decrease them by addressing this behavior.

The Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act has already been introduced in the Senate to accomplish this task. Congress would take a solid step toward decreasing drug prices by passing it — without resorting to direct market intervention.

During President Biden’s tenure, the FTC targeted beverage companies, grocers, and even AI chip producers in an ideological quest to undermine the U.S.’s free enterprise system. We know how this movie ends. Even well-intentioned intentions in the free market ultimately lead to negative consequences for Americans. 

Congress should support PBMs — free market participants — and stand opposed to the Biden administration’s socialist meddling.