Congress, Big Pharma and Kickbacks, Oh My !!!

GoodRX may save my son $3,500 or more on his prescription meds. This is a large fraction of the income he’s earning on his first job.

Congress exempted “Big Phrama” from kickback rules in the 90s, the result seems to be that prices signals are allowed to work in the market to the benefit of people who would otherwise be made poor buying medicine they need at artificially high prices.

I was wondering how GoodRx gets such deep discounts. From:

GoodRx says it earns money when a customer uses her or his GoodRx code to make a purchase. Even more money is made when the consumer becomes a repeat customer.

To be clear on this, when you use a GoodRx code, a PBM receives a portion of that. GoodRx then receives a percentage or a fixed payment from the PBM for directing the customer to that PBM’s pricing and the pharmacy, the company explains.

In other industries, these payments could be called illegal kickbacks. But in the early 1990s, Congress exempted drug companies’ rebates from federal anti-kickback laws. The thinking was that the payments could serve as a negotiating tool, according to Consumer Reports.

Reason has a series of podcats that shows how federal government myopia of a different sort (tariffs) cause baby-food shortages

#53 of #100DaysToOffload take 3.1,