This article attributes anticompetitive control over drugstores to CVS' ownershgip of Caremark. The benefits management and distribution business should probably not be under the control of one player in the drugstore business, where it can muscle the others. Am I wrong?
This tool has brought the cost of prescription medications down thru negotiations with retail providers. Several Insurance companies have taken this step further and set up there own Rx dispensing Businesses, B/C B/S (for profit) is one Example.
The Question should be, does owning a PBM give a Company a unfair Advantage in price negotiations. My view is that Retail Rx distribution has not participated in aliening its interests with its major paying customers.
A PBM does not control a Health Insurers core business. Which down plays the control you perceive a PBM has in the Healthcare Service market..
Splitting up Caremark/CVS would do little to change the competition in this sector, Except to increase the shareholders value in CVS.
Walgreens has recently Employed two new Medical professionals that understand the competition of a risk based medical service market. Their guidance in developing programs in time will answer your question.
I agree on the point that PBM's are neutral to competition at the retail pharmacy level. However, they are an unnecessary layer of cost whose role in mediating retail Rx pricing might better be administered by the FDA or HHS. Take the cost of PBM's and their grandiosely compensated executives out of the healthcare cost equation and prescription drug costs just became a whole lot more affordable for millions of Americans.
Of course, healthcare and PBM PAC's are among the largest contributors to the RNC... prompting a lot of the "repeal" rhetoric regarding Obama's healthcare reform initiative. You don't "bite the hand that feeds you." And, of course, Boehner needs somebody with lottsa dough to pay for his golf outings and excessive use of Kleenex.
There is nothing innovative about any PBM. It is an excuse to justify yet another layer of outrageous cost in an already over-burdened healthcare system that is pricing medicine beyond the reaches of far too many people. I actually think Walgreens jettisoning WHI was a sound, strategic move.
Your report on pharmacy students primed to open their own neighborhood stores is interesting and a sign that entrepreneurship is still alive and well in America. I hope it works out for this new generation of professionals.