The first target on drug prices: pharmacy benefit managers

A dollar sign with prescription pills bouncing off.
Illustration: Caresse Haaser, Rebecca Zisser / Axios

After months of circular finger-pointing over high drug prices, lawmakers, administration officials and parts of the health care industry seem to have settled on an initial target: pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen that health insurers and employers hire to negotiate with drug companies.

Yes, but: There are savings to be wrung out of the highly concentrated PBM industry. That's why insurers are so eager to operate their own PBMs. But analysts say squeezing PBMs won't solve some of the fundamental problems that drive high drug spending.