More than half of the nation's employers use a third-party pharmacy benefit manager to process and pay their prescription drug plans, and nearly two-thirds say in a Buck Consultants survey that pricing is of high importance. But, the actual impact PBMs have on pricing depends on who you ask. Some consultants who work with employers on implementing the plans raise questions about the transparency PBMs offer to their clients - a charge the PBMs deny. As health spending in the United States continues to rise, savings and transparency from PBMs are becoming even more important.

In the Buck survey, 57% of respondents from 224 organizations representing more than 2.5 million employees in 20 different industries say they use a stand-alone PBM, and 11% are planning to do so.

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