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Ohio journalists pave the way for reporters covering pharmacy benefit managers

One lesson some health care journalists have learned in recent years is that the nation’s pharmacy benefit management system is incredibly complex. The sheer complexity can make it a tough beat to cover.

To their credit, a team of journalists at the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio has produced an award-winning series that has pulled back the curtain that PBMs and pharma companies have used to obfuscate their dealings with each other and with health care purchasers and payers (meaning health plans).

What makes the series so interesting is that it’s about more than just pharmacy benefits in Ohio, says Cathy Candisky, one of the reporters on the team. What’s happening with PBMs in Ohio is likely going on in other states too, Candisky says. This is significant because when officials in one state have a problem, they look to other states for solutions.

In this tip sheet, Joseph Burns shares some of what that team has learned about PBMs.

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