Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (Drew Angerer/Pool via AP Images)

Sen­ate be­gins quest to de­mys­ti­fy PBM­s' prac­tices as it mulls leg­is­la­tion

The Sen­ate Com­merce Com­mit­tee to­day held a hear­ing in which mem­bers on both sides of the aisle raised ques­tions about the prac­tices of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal mid­dle­men, known as phar­ma­cy ben­e­fit man­agers, or PBMs.

Sev­er­al sen­a­tors ques­tioned the role PBMs have played in caus­ing in­de­pen­dent phar­ma­cies to close. The role of the com­pa­nies has come un­der in­creas­ing scruti­ny amid con­sol­i­da­tion in the health­care ser­vices in­dus­try. The top three PBMs con­trol 80% of the mar­ket, and are owned by health in­sur­ers Cigna and Unit­ed­Health and by the drug­store gi­ant CVS Health.

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