What They’re Watching: Byron Mickle

Byron Mickle, senior vice president of Navitus Health Solutions, joins us in this edition of What They’re Watching to discuss transparency in pharmaceutical costs.

Obviously working for a company that manages pharmacy as a benefit, we’re interested in how much further the envelope’s going to be pushed around transparency in particular. Back when the ACA was being drafted, I had a number of conversations with one of the architects of that, David Balto, the attorney, and I kept trying to emphasize the need for really more transparency around pharmacy benefit managers. And in the end it was kind of hey, this is really the walk before you run scenario, so let’s start with this and then, you know, we’ll progress as we go down the road as far as the transparency aspect of PBMs.

I think if the manufacture side of pharmaceuticals doesn’t rein in the method that they’ve decided to use as far as the cost of their medications, then really, I think they’re going to invite by the default, probably the government to step in and take a more active role in that process. Personally, I would be more in favor of more of a market approach to those price controls. But unfortunately, all we see in the news are example after example of the lack of discipline when it comes to market increases. And as the panel discussion we just had, it’s more along the lines because they can as really what’s driving it.

Note: This was recorded at our 2016 Southern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference on Oct. 31, 2016.