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Pharmacy Benefit Managers Mislead Patients and Waste Medicine in Latest Volume of COA PBM Horror Stories

Community Oncology Alliance
June 8, 2023

Community Oncology Alliance Releases Eighth in Series of Patient-PBM Horror Stories Reported by Cancer Practices

Even as the pressure on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) intensifies, these supply chain middlemen continue to deceive patients for their own gain. To help the public understand just how pervasive PBM influence is, the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) is publishing the eighth volume of its PBM Horror Stories series.

“Playing Games with Patient Lives,” is comprised of the real-life experiences of patients across the country, supplied to COA by independent, community oncology practices and pharmacies. The story collection showcases the dangers of allowing bureaucracy to overrun the practice of medicine, with urgent prescriptions being ping-ponged through a PBM’s pharmacy network, delays due to outdated approval processes, patients being frozen out of the conversation on their own medications, and lying to patients to maximize profit.

Millions of Americans depend on PBMs to process their medications in a timely manner. The stark reality is these enormous multi-billion-dollar corporations have infiltrated every step of the supply chain, allowing them to squeeze every dollar out of patients and practices. The lack of regulations surrounding PBMs allows them to extort opaque fees and rebates from pharmacists at the expense of patient health, safety, and financial wellbeing. Although federal and state governments are finally cracking down on these disgusting practices, patients still suffer serious, and life-threatening, consequences in the meantime.

“Cancer is not a disease that waits for a pencil pusher to figure out how much money he can make by overcharging a patient,” said Ted Okon, COA’s executive director. “While these middlemen maximize their profit, patients are suffering. How many more volumes do we need to publish before PBMs are brought to heel?”

Several bills have been introduced during the 118th Congress that address abusive and monopolistic PBM practices. COA stands ready to support Congress as they work to end the PBM blight.

This is the eighth paper in a series produced by COA that exposes the abuses of PBMs, many of which are featured on which seeks to support patient education and advocacy on PBM issues. Visitors to the site can access the PBM Horror Stories series, educational videos, advocacy resources, and more.


Read More at Community Oncology Alliance.