Pharmacy benefit management (PBM)

Pharmacy benefit managers get new top lobbyist

A pharmacist reaches for a prescription drug bottle in a pharmacy.
Pharmacy benefit managers have been in political hot water. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, the top trade group representing pharmacy benefit managers, has tapped medical device industry lobbyist JC Scott as its new CEO. He will take over for outgoing CEO Mark Merritt next month.

Why it matters: Scott, who has close ties to Republican leaders, will be leading PCMA at a time when the largest PBMs are fusing together with health insurers and are enduring heavy criticism for their role in the nation's problem of high drug prices.

Health care mega-mergers may get green light from feds

The Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Department of Justice headquarters in D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice are expected to approve two major health care deals — CVS Health's $69 billion buyout of Aetna and Cigna's $67 billion deal for Express Scripts — within a matter of weeks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The health insurance and pharmacy benefits industries would be even more heavily consolidated than they currently are, which has worried consumer advocates and providers. The WSJ reports the only required antitrust remedies would be for CVS and Aetna to divest overlapping assets in their Medicare prescription drug plans.