May 7, 2018

Pharmacy benefits industry shakes up leadership, strategy

Photo: Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association — the trade organization for pharmacy benefit managers — is announcing a leadership change this morning. CEO and President Mark Merritt will announce his plans to step down at the end of the year, according to people familiar with the change.

Why it matters: Individual PBMs have grown frustrated with PCMA. It's “not able to get out ahead of the debate” over the industry’s role in setting the price of prescription drugs, a person familiar with the situation told me. Bringing in a new leader for PCMA is part of a broader effort to hit back harder against the pharmaceutical industry and defend the industry more proactively.

What they’re saying: “When [Merritt] came aboard in 2003, he started from scratch and built PCMA into one of the most effective advocacy and lobbying groups in American health care,” Express Scripts’ Tim Wentworth, PCMA’s board chairman, said in a statement.

What’s next: Member companies are looking for a replacement who will guide PCMA toward a more aggressive public posture. I’m told the decision should happen before Merritt steps down at the end of the year, but hasn’t yet been made.

Flashback: PBMs against the world.

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Minnesota activates National Guard amid fallout from George Floyd death

A portrait of George Floyd hangs on a street light pole in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

George Floyd, 46, moved to Minnesota to improve his life and become his "best self," but instead, he is dead because of Minneapolis police.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a state of emergency and activated the state's National Guard in response to violent clashes over the past two days between police and protesters in the Twin Cities.

Trump signs executive order targeting protections for social media platforms

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday designed to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content users post on their platforms.

What they're saying: "Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform, which they are not," Trump said in the Oval Office. "We are fed up with it. It is unfair, and it's been very unfair."