March 28, 2018 Press Releases

Drug rebates for consumers — another Band-Aid on a systemic problem

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Patients For Affordable Drugs Executive Director, Ben Wakana, issued the following statement regarding the announcement that Aetna plans to pass drug rebates to consumers:

“The recent changes announced by Aetna and United will offer some relief to about 10.5 million people — 3 percent of the U.S. population. These announcements are designed to protect secret and often anti-competitive practices of PBMs and insurers. Rebates fail to lower list drug prices which millions of Americans are forced to pay.

“Patients and consumers will not know the prices United and Aetna negotiate and the billions they pocket from prescription drugs.

“Drug corporations should lower the list prices of drugs. And we should have transparent, negotiated prices that patients can see, which would eliminate the need for rebates altogether.”


  • According to a Harvard analysis, the change will not lower prescription drug prices.
  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s recent recommendations on policies to lower drug prices aim to pull back the curtains so consumers and lawmakers can understand drug prices by requiring disclosure on all PBM discounts and rebates.
  • Shifting rebates to customers could make premiums rise, Aetna spokesman T.J. Crawford told Axios. “Given the fact that the majority of rebates are currently passed on to plan sponsors and their employees through lower premiums, yes — this decision could result in higher premiums.”


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.