Pharmaceutical Industry Defends P&T Committee Anonymity in AIS Newsletter

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In the wake of recent scrutiny, executives from PBMs and other experts tell Atlantic Information Services’ Drug Benefit News that the practice of hiding the identities of pharmaceutical & therapeutic committee members protects formularies from external influence and keeps the process ethical.

The routine practice of hiding the identity of pharmacy and therapeutics (P&T) committee members, who recommend what drugs should be on a plan or PBM’s formulary, has recently come under fire, with critics arguing that the public should be able to see what contributions committee members have gotten from pharmaceutical companies and other sources. But, making the names of P&T committee members public knowledge would actually invite external pressures, PBM executives and others tell Atlantic Information Services’ Drug Benefit News in its Aug. 26 issue.

David Lassen, Pharm.D., chief clinical officer at Prime Therapeutics, tells DBN that the company routinely provides the contact information of their P&T committee members to government agencies and health care accrediting bodies. In his view, making these names public knowledge “would not improve patient care. Rather, it would invite unwarranted pressure from external organizations that have the capacity to inappropriately influence the unbiased nature of the established decision making process.”

Even though the committee members are anonymous, the process is still transparent, Express Scripts spokesperson Jennifer Luddy tells DBN. “The meeting minutes are available to our clients, and our clients also are able to attend the meetings. The public anonymity of the committee members ensures that these leading physicians aren’t influenced by well-funded pharmaceutical manufacturers.”

Express Scripts also has a procedure in place to detect potential conflicts of interest. “Every two months, members are required to disclose any financial connection to a manufacturer, and then the rest of the committee decides whether or not that appearance of conflict may in some way influence the vote,” Luddy says. “In the rare instances of a potential conflict, that member may be asked to step down from the committee or recuse himself/herself from voting on products related to the specific manufacturer. When this happens, the committee will consult with non-conflicted physicians in the relevant specialty when reviewing the clinical merits of a particular medication.”

Visit http://aishealth.com/archive/ndbn082616-01 to read the article in its entirety.

About Drug Benefit News
Published biweekly, Drug Benefit News delivers timely news and in-depth accounts of cost management strategies being employed by purchasers. Coverage includes news of the continually evolving PBM landscape, soaring specialty pharmacy costs, the emerging biosimilars market, generic inflation, exclusionary formularies, new adherence strategies, pharmacy network innovation, changing reimbursement methodology and more. Visit http://aishealth.com/marketplace/drug-benefit-news for more information.

About AIS
Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is a publishing and information company that has been serving the health care industry for nearly 30 years. It develops highly targeted news, data and strategic information for managers in hospitals and health systems, health insurance companies, medical group practices, purchasers of health insurance, pharmaceutical companies and other health care organizations. AIS products include print and electronic newsletters, databases, websites, looseleafs, strategic reports, directories, webinars, virtual conferences and training programs. Learn more at http://AISHealth.com.

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Jill Brown, Executive Editor
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