Pfizer has agreed to large discounts for benefit managers that block the use of generic versions of Lipitor, according to a letter from Catalyst Rx, a benefit manager for 18 million people in the United States. The letters have not previously been made public.
A pharmacy group and an independent expert say the tactic will benefit Pfizer and benefit managers at the expense of employers and taxpayers, who may end up paying more than they should for the drug.
Pharmacy benefit managers are middlemen between drug companies (the sellers) and insurers and employers that sponsor insurance plans (the buyers).
“I’m stunned,” said Geoffrey F. Joyce, an associate professor of pharmaceutical economics and a health policy expert at the University of Southern California, after reviewing the letters. “This is just an egregious case. Clearly there’s been some negotiation between Pfizer and the large P.B.M.’s saying we’re going to make this cost-beneficial to them, but the plan sponsors are going to eat it.”
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Plan Would Delay Sales of Generic for Lipitor - NYTimes.com