Prescription drugs play a significant role in healthcare today and constitute the first line of treatment for many medical conditions. For many, prescription drugs provide the hope of improved health and quality of life.
Total medical costs for employers continue to outpace the rate of overall inflation, in particular, the increase in high cost drugs to treat complex conditions such as cancer, hepatitis and multiple sclerosis. National health expenditures as a percentage of gross domestic product are expected to increase to 20% in 2026 from 18% in 2017 according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS"). With increasing cost pressures being exerted on health benefit providers such as managed care organizations, health insurers, employers and unions, there is an increasing role for pharmacy benefit management ("PBM") companies to develop innovative strategies to put medicine within reach of patients by making better health more affordable and accessible.
PBM companies typically combine retail pharmacy claims processing and network management, formulary management, utilization management and home delivery pharmacy services to develop an integrated product offering to manage the prescription drug benefit for payors. Some PBMs also offer specialty medication services that deliver a more effective solution than many retail pharmacies in providing treatments for diseases that rely upon high-cost injectable, infused, oral or inhaled drugs. Some PBMs have also broadened their service offerings to include medication adherence programs, outcomes research, drug therapy management programs, sophisticated data analysis and distribution services.