CVS Health CEO 'surprised' by Azar's comments on drug prices

Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, responded to comments HHS Secretary Alex Azar made last week, stating that he was "surprised" to hear him say PBMs are standing in the way of lower drug prices in order to protect their bottom lines.

Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, responded to comments HHS Secretary Alex Azar made last week, stating that he was "surprised" to hear him say PBMs are standing in the way of lower drug prices in order to protect their bottom lines. "I want to assure you that this is not the case for CVS Health," Merlo wrote Azar in a letter dated June 29. Merlo told Azar that CVS Health's PBM has not told drug manufacturers not to lower list prices. "We do not instruct manufacturers on how they price their products," Merlo wrote. "Consistent with that practice, we have not as part of the current dialogue or in any other circumstance, instructed manufacturers not to lower list prices." Merlo said CVS Health has kept drug price growth at a minimal 0.2%, despite manufacturer brand increases on drugs near 10%.