2. Consultants also broker bigger PBM contracts
In addition to helping employers strike their own deals with PBMs, some of the large benefits consultants operate their own drug coalitions — bringing multiple employer clients under the same umbrella, hoping to get a better deal with the big PBMs.
But some experts question whether those arrangements actually benefit employers, Bob reports.
What we're hearing: "Most of these PBM coalitions that are sponsored by consulting brokerages are just crap," a source who has worked on pharmacy benefits for more than 20 years told Bob. "They never validate" how they save money, said the person, who asked not to be named to protect relationships.
Willis Towers Watson says its drug purchasing organization allows employers to "save 25% or more than their current contract," but didn't offer context behind that number. Benefits experts say employers often have no idea if the savings are true.
- "The contracts are basically no different from what an individual company can get from a PBM, which means that all the individual company is doing is adding a layer of additional fees from the coalition," says Linda Cahn, an independent consultant who has reviewed coalition PBM contracts.