The Federal Trade Commission will launch an inquiry into the prescription drug middleman industry, requiring the six largest pharmacy benefit managers to provide information and records regarding their business practices within 90 days, the agency announced today. FTC said the inquiry will scrutinize the impact of vertically integrated PBMs on the access and affordability of prescription drugs. 

AHA last month urged the FTC to investigate certain practices by health plans and pharmacy benefit manager, commonly referred to as “white bagging,” which disallow health care providers from procuring and managing the drugs they administer to patients.

“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,” AHA told the agency. 

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