Employers’ Prescription for Affordable Drugs uniting to advance competition, transparency and value

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 09, 2019 – The Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance) have partnered to launch the Employers’ Prescription for Affordable Drugs (EmployersRx), a coalition uniting employers in advocacy for policies that will address our nation’s biggest health care challenge—the high cost of prescription drugs.

“As the largest collective purchaser of health care, businesses have a responsibility to employees and their families to tackle this important issue,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of PBGH. “Employers and patients are tired of bearing the brunt of high costs caused by a gamed system set up by drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers. Employers are doing everything they can to contain costs, but this problem is too big to fix without action from the government.”

The coalition supports policies that would increase transparency by forcing middlemen, such as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), to make pricing data available to purchasers. Additionally, drug companies would be required to report and justify price increases for some drugs. Furthermore, the coalition supports changes that would strengthen competition by prohibiting practices that stifle the development and use of generic drugs and biosimilars, and increase value by ending secretive PBM schemes, like spread pricing.

Spending on prescription drugs in the United States has skyrocketed, growing from $236 billion in 2007 to $333 billion in 2017—a 41% increase. Employers spend 21 cents of every health care dollar on prescription drugs—more than twice the national spending rate on retail drugs. These increases contribute to rising overall insurance rates. Kaiser Family Foundation’s recently released data shows that employer premiums rose five percent from last year to average $20,576.

Funds that could be used by companies to increase employee wages or reinvest in the company are instead being used to underwrite massive profits for drug makers. The Kaiser Family Foundation also released survey results that reported one in four Americans find it difficult to afford medication, and four in five agree that prescription drug costs are unreasonable.

EmployersRx is committed to driving the passage of legislation that supports competition, transparency and value by empowering its members to be effective advocates through policy briefs, training and support. EmployersRx features insights and recommendations informed by case studies from employers, including Albertsons, Caterpillar and the University of Southern California.

About Employers’ Prescription for Affordable Drugs

Collectively, employers are the largest purchaser of health care in the United States, purchasing health care services for more than 153 million people. Employers’ Prescription for Affordable Drugs (EmployersRx) represents public and private employers across the United States that are advocating for reducing prescription drug costs.

About Pacific Business Group on Health

Pacific Business Group on Health is an action-oriented 501c(3) non-profit organization focused on improving health outcomes, experience and affordability for consumers and purchasers across the United States. Since 1989, PBGH has distinguished itself as a national innovator driven by some of the largest and most influential public and private purchasers of healthcare in the country, including Boeing, CalPERS, Comcast, Intel and Walmart. PBGH leverages purchaser action in partnership with providers, payers and policymakers to identify, test and scale innovative models for improving health outcomes and affordability.

About The ERISA Industry Committee

ERIC helps America’s largest employers stay ahead of employee benefit policy. ERIC member companies are leaders in every sector of the economy, and we represent them in their capacity as sponsors of employee benefit plans for their own workforce. Only ERIC provides the combination of intel, expertise, collaboration, and lobbying that exclusively serves the interests of large employers who provide health, retirement, and compensation benefits to their nationwide workforce.

About the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions is the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country. Our members represent more than 12,000 employers/purchasers and 45 million Americans spending over $300 billion annually on healthcare.