Express Scripts Holding Co.

Associated Press

The nation's biggest pharmacy benefits manager is muscling back into the debate over soaring drug costs by promoting a less-expensive alternative to a life-saving medicine with a list price of $750 per pill.

Sticker-shocked patients increasingly wonder why prices for prescription drugs continue to rise in the U.S.

UnitedHealthCare

The nation's largest health insurer, UnitedHealth, will muscle up for its fight against rising prescription drug costs by spending more than $12 billion to buy pharmacy benefits manager Catamaran Corp.

Pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs, help negotiate the prices that customers pay for prescription drugs. They are seen as a key component in the push to contain soaring costs from specialty drugs, complex medicines that can represent treatment breakthroughs but often at a much higher price than other drugs.

Wikimedia Commons

Federal health officials have approved the first lower-cost copy of a biotech drug to reach the U.S. market, a long-awaited milestone that could generate billions in savings for insurers, doctors and patients.

Biotech drugs are powerful, injected medicines produced in living cells. They are typically much more expensive than traditional chemical-based drugs.