The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on Big Pharma over rebate practices that increase prescription costs

July 18, 2022

The Federal Trade Commission says it’s cracking down on “unlawful business practices” in an effort to drive down prescription drug prices.

Earlier this month, the FTC issued a statement about drug manufacturers issuing rebates and paying fees to pharmacy benefit managers – the companies that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers, Medicare Part D drug plans, large employers and other payers.

In addition to driving up costs for patients, the rebates also stifle competition from drugs that are cheaper – specifically generics.

The FTC is particularly concerned because insulin is one of the drugs targeted by questionable rebate practices. This is significant because roughly 8 million Americans rely on insulin to control their diabetes. The agency cited one woman who shared at the Commission’s Open Meeting in October 2021 that her son was a diabetic. Sadly, he tried to cut the high costs by rationing his medication. He later died.

The FTC is going to look into this issue, but says, “the Commission recognizes the life-and-death stakes of this work and is committed to acting expeditiously.” The agency says drug manufacturers taking part in these practices could be violating competition and consumer protection laws.

Have you seen your insulin costs rise? Share your concerns about that or other rising drug prices with us here.