Customer Satisfaction With PBMs Drops to a Three-Year Low, Study Reports

Plan sponsors’ overall satisfaction with their PBMs was 7.8 on a 1-10 scale in 2022, down from 8.2 last year, according to Pharmaceutical Strategies Group’s 2022 Pharmacy Benefit Manager Customer Satisfaction Report. The report was based on surveys completed by 236 individuals representing employers, unions/Taft Hartley plans, health plans and health systems that covered an estimated 76 million lives. Respondents reported a lower likelihood to recommend their PBM to a colleague or to renew their contract without issuing a competitive request for proposal this year, highlighting costs as the primary driver to leave the PBM.

Among core PBM services, satisfaction was highest for “offering competitive traditional drug discounts” and “meeting financial guarantees.” As clinical and cost management programs play a key role in reducing overall costs, 82% of respondents reported using utilization management, while only 8% used gene therapy financial protection programs.


The report found that PBMs with 20 million or fewer members tend to have higher satisfaction ratings than larger PBMs, though overall satisfaction and “likelihood to recommend to a colleague” both declined compared with last year. Satisfaction among employers was significantly higher than health plans, as they “perceived better alignment between their PBM’s incentives and their organization’s goals, thought of their PBM as more of a proactive partner in managing their drug spend and were more satisfied with the transparency of their PBM,” according to the report.


Among major PBMs, Cigna Corp.’s Express Scripts and UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx scored the highest overall satisfaction rate (7.9). MedImpact earned 6.5 this year, down from 8.5 in 2021.


NOTES: Net promoter score is a standardized measure calculated by determining the percentage of promoters (respondents who gave a likelihood to recommend rating of 9 or 10), the percentage of passives (respondents who gave a rating of 7 or 8), and the percentage of detractors (respondents who gave a rating of 6 or less) and then subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The average “likelihood to renew contract without competitive RFP” was not available in 2020.

SOURCE: “2022 Pharmacy Benefit Manager Customer Satisfaction Report,” Pharmaceutical Strategies Group. Dallas, TX: PSG.

This infographic was reprinted from AIS Health’s biweekly publication RADAR on Drug Benefits.

Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong produces infographics and data stories on health insurance and specialty pharmacy for AIS Health. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting. Before joining AIS in 2018, she worked at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese.

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