Underscoring the opaque and confusing nature of pharmaceutical pricing, Amgen announced long-awaited discounts for its biosimilar version of Humira — the world’s best-selling medicine — and the numbers suggest the biggest winners may be health insurers and others in the supply chain, but not patients.
Here’s why: The drug company will offer its medication, called Amjevita, at two different discounts — 5% and 55% — off the roughly $80,000 wholesale, or list, price. The maneuver reflects the behind-the-scenes negotiations that occur between pharmaceutical companies and the pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, that create formularies, or lists of medicines for which insurance coverage is provided.
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