Integrated pharmacy benefits are associated with reduced medical expenditures over the long term, resulting in annual per-member, per-month savings compared with a carve-out.

Patients with chronic illnesses receiving an integrated pharmacy benefit experienced slower medical cost growth compared with members covered by a pharmacy carve-out, according to a study reported in the “American Journal of Managed Care.”

Since their introduction in the 1980s, pharmacy benefit carve-outs (PBMs) have been the subject of vigorous debate. Most recently, these controversies typically focused on the impact of PBMs on drug spending, such as the pricing models used by PBMs and the kinds of data transparency that employers might need to negotiate with them effectively.

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