FTC chief economist resigns amid controversy over pharmaceutical research

The people who spoke anonymously about the internal agency discussions were unaware of Vosinska’s specific objections to the proposed study. He did not respond to emails or calls for comment.

An FTC spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

But his resignation came amid fierce internal debate over the agency’s plans to study the PBM industry, frequent target lawmakers, patient groups and independent pharmacies accusing the industry of contributing to high drug prices.

At its open session the next day, the FTC came to a standstill over the opposition of two Republican members of the commissioner to the progress of the investigation. The FTC is currently split 2-2 as the Senate considers Democrat Alvaro Bedoya’s candidacy to fill fifth place – in a stalemate that has thwarted the plans of progressive FTC Chairman Lina Khan for a more aggressive execution.

On Friday, February 18, in an email to the agency, Khan said that Vosinska had “completed her position” at the agency and that two of the FTC’s top economists would take up her duties before choosing a replacement.

Khan announced on February 10 that the agency would vote on a proposed study of PBMs next week.

The FTC has the unique power to initiate so-called 6 (b) surveys where it can force companies to provide information for research purposes. The agency has studied the PBM industry several times.

The top three PBMs – CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRX – represent almost 80 percent of the market and are owned or owned by insurance companies. The trio also represents revenue from three of the four largest pharmacies in the U.S. with prescription drugs.

The industry argues that PBMs promote competition and blame pharmaceutical companies for increasing drug costs. But critics say vertical and horizontal integration allows PBMs to lead people to their own pharmacies and force patients to jump into rings to get certain medications. Independent pharmacies also struggle with the so-called direct and indirect reimbursement fees that PBMs can charge after filling out a prescription.

People said that Khan first released the proposed research project, along with a draft project with PBMs, to the other three commissioners of the agency on February 10th.

This first project focused on PBM contracts and whether they provide better conditions for in-house pharmacies than independent pharmacies. The project’s staff memorandum states that the study does not address the potential effects of these contracts, such as their impact on consumer prices.

After other commissioners raised questions about the lack of focus on consumer prices, Khan’s office reviewed the survey. A new version of the survey was released on Feb. 16, at 9 p.m., the night before the FTC scheduled polling, three commissioners announced during the debate the next day.

This version of the study was much broader and included questions about the relationship between PBMs and drug companies. The other three commissioners received only the new research project without any supporting documentation or personnel memorandum that usually accompanies such research, which explains the focus of the research, said Commissioner Noah Phillips at a public meeting of the FTC on February 17th.

Less than half an hour before the FTC’s open meeting, Khan’s office released the third draft of the proposed study, two people said. They said the third version was broader than the second project.

Both Phillips and his fellow Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson voted against advancing the research proposed at the meeting. While both said they supported PBM industry research, Phillips and Wilson said the current project needed change.

Khan Wrote on Twitter that he was “very disappointed” Due to the failure of the FTC to authorize the investigation, it said that “the investigation into PBMs is urgent and delayed.”

A similar situation arose in November when Khan offered to study the supply chain. After Wilson expressed concern about the scale of this study, the commissioners Delayed research authorization. FTC Finally approved the study at the end of the same monthSend out calls to retailers such as Walmart and Amazon, grocery stores and food suppliers such as Kraft Heinz and Tysons.

Instead of starting discussions with other commissioners about reviewing the survey, Khan It announced on Thursday that the FTC had requested public comment PBM industry.

Megan Wilson contributed to this report.

FTC chief economist resigns amid controversy over pharmaceutical research

Source link FTC chief economist resigns amid controversy over pharmaceutical research

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