AHA today urged the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize commercial health plans that steer patients to third-party specialty pharmacies in which they have a financial interest. These practices, commonly referred to as “white bagging,” disallow health care providers from procuring and managing the drugs they administer to patients, resulting in significant patient safety concerns, frequent delays in care, and a tremendous administrative burden on hospitals to reconcile these policies on behalf of their patients, AHA wrote, responding to a request for public comments on PBM business practices. 
 
“As large health plans engage in broad vertical integration efforts, including the acquisition of PBMs and specialty pharmacies, the practice of mandated white bagging has increased dramatically,” forcing hospitals and health systems “to navigate substantial supply chain and logistical challenges in order to continue to provide safe and effective care to the patients they treat,” the letter notes.
 
AHA also urged the agency to scrutinize “the impact of PBM-negotiated rebates and other business practices on the 340B drug discount pricing program and overall drug prices and drug price increases.”

Learn more about AHA’s concerns with white bagging policies in this AHA podcast and infographic

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