Pharmacy benefits group describes 'what PBMs do'

WASHINGTON: The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association has launched the "That's What PBMs Do" campaign, highlighting the value of pharmacy benefit managers.

WASHINGTON: The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association has launched the “That's What PBMs Do” campaign, highlighting the value of pharmacy benefit managers.

The nonprofit is emphasizing how PBMs reduce pharmacy costs for employers, unions, and consumers. It is also explaining the roles they play in the Medicare Part D program and how benefit manager mail service improves safety.

PBMs are third-party administrators of prescription drug programs. They are primarily responsible for processing and paying prescription drug claims.

The group has focused its media outreach on the Washington area because its target audience is key policymakers and thought leaders. Specifically, it is pitching publications circulated on Capitol Hill, such as The Hill and Congressional Quarterly.

“We're flooding the zone in the Washington market,” said Charles Cote, assistant VP of strategic communications at PCMA. “PBMs saved nearly $2 trillion over the most recent decade. That's an important message that will resonate in this current economic climate.”

The organization could extend communications efforts to other markets, depending on the success of the first stage of the campaign, he added.

PCMA has launched similar campaigns about pharmacy benefit managers in the past, however social media is playing a greater role in this initiative.

“You try to reach as many touch points as possible,” Cote said. “[Social media] provides a multiplier effect where you can reach a much larger audience then sending out a press release.”

The multifaceted campaign, developed in-house, also has advertising and social media elements. Cote called the effort's budget "substantial," but declined to disclose a specific amount.

Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, a pharmaceutical advisory firm, said he expects other stakeholders in the industry to launch similar campaigns as healthcare costs remain a hot topic on Capitol Hill.

“The average consumer only experiences the healthcare system through their provider or sometimes thorough their insurance company,” Fein said. “Very few people understand the behind-the-scene players who actually make the whole system work.”

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