Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) use market forces to lower drug costs and improve health outcomes. Acting on behalf of drug insurance plans, PBMs bargain with manufacturers and pharmacies to design drug benefit plans, which help prevent illness and develop faster and more affordable treatments. Yet, PBMs are under increased scrutiny with critics accusing them of being predatory middlemen. Currently, multiple legislative proposals are pending to limit their practices.

Please join the Competitive Enterprise Institute and health policy experts University of Chicago Professor Casey B. Mulligan and CEI Senior Fellow Dr. Joel Zinberg for a discussion of how pharmacy benefit managers provide value and generate savings for consumers.

Professor Mulligan, Zinberg’s former colleague at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, published the first quantitative economic model on the role of PBMs, as well as several other studies through the National Bureau of Economic Research. In a new paper, A Free Market Solution for Drug Distribution: How free market PBMs are driving down the bill for pharmaceuticals, CEI Senior Fellow Joel Zinberg calls on Congress to reject counterproductive legislative proposals, which would reduce competition, increase costs, decrease health, and hamper market evolution in pharmacy benefit management services that aid individuals in the drug-distribution system.

Please join CEI for a virtual briefing on how PBMs work featuring Dr. Zinberg and Professor Mulligan, in conversation with CEI President Kent Lassman.


12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EST

Thursday, January 4, 2024


Sign up to join the conversation live and receive a link to the video archive following the event.

Registration confirmation and event reminder emails will be sent from CEI Events at [email protected]

Questions: [email protected] or 202.331.2764​​​​​​

Casey B. Mulligan, PhD, is an economics professor at the University of Chicago. Previously, he served as chief economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisors and a visiting professor teaching public economics at Harvard University, Clemson University, and the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. His research covers capital and labor taxation, the gender wage gap, health economics, Social Security, voting and the economics of aging. He is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, and the Population Research Center. Dr. Mulligan received his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 1993 and has received awards and fellowships from organizations such as the Manhattan Institute and the National Science Foundation.

Joel M. Zinberg, M.D., J.D. is a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Director the Public Health and American Well-Being Initiative at the Paragon Health Institute. He served for two years (2017-2019) as General Counsel and Senior Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President. Dr. Zinberg practiced general and oncologic surgery in New York for nearly 30 years at the Mount Sinai Hospital and Icahn School of Medicine, where he is an Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery, and was president of the New York County Medical Society. Dr. Zinberg previously taught for 10 years at the Columbia Law School on medical-legal issues including creating a course on legal and policy issues in organ transplantation.

Kent Lassman is the host of the online event series at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. As president and CEO, he leads a fiesty team devoted to radical reforms of an unaccountable regulatory state. Lassman has interviewed leading academics such as Annie Duke, Richard A. Epstein, Cass Sunstein, and Bart Wilson, government officials such as then-FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, then-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and then-EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, as well as prominent authors such as Marian Tupy and Jonathan Rauch. 

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