FYI, I am also planning to attend the NACDS 2010 Pharmacy and Technology Conference in August and the NCPA 112th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in October, where I will be burned in effigy during the President's address. I will send out similar announcements prior to those meetings.
But first, a little bit more about transparency...
A FEW MORE WORDS ABOUT PBM TRANSPARENCY
Thanks to everyone who contributed to last week's discussion of The Politics of Pharmacy (20 comments) and Why do pharmacy owners care about PBM transparency? (54 comments!).
Despite 70+ comments, my fundamental question remains unanswered, although the answer seems self-evident to me.
Why do plan sponsors—large, sophisticated companies who can hire PBM consultants, retain legal counsel, and conduct audits—need protection from their own business decisions?And a follow-up: Why do they need to be protected by independent pharmacists and/or new government regulations?
Did Wellpoint require NCPA's help in negotiating terms of its 10 year agreement with Express Scripts? Not that I know of. Did Chrysler's UAW retirees ask advice from independent pharmacists when switching from Caremark to Medco? I doubt it.
Many comments state that PBMs earn GIGANTIC markups on prescriptions filled at brick-and-mortar pharmacies. Even if this claim were true, the implication is the same as my sentiment: Caveat Emptor, plan sponsors!
If PBM customers believe they need government oversight, then they would be lobbying alongside NCPA.
If plan sponsors believe the transparent model is a better mousetrap, then it will win in the marketplace.
If independent pharmacists want to succeed, they need to stop blaming PBMs for business decisions made by payers and start creating value for the health care system outside of the PBM network.
Just my $0.02. YMMV.
SHOULD I KEEP COURTING CONTROVERSY?
The comments on last week’s posts ranged in tone from “Dear sir, allow me to clarify your ever-so-slight misunderstanding of the issues” to “Hey, moron!”
To lessen the future psychic pain of negative feedback, here's a sneak peek at upcoming topics on Drug Channels:
- America’s Cuddliest Pharmacists
- Independent Pharmacy: A Great Channel to Market, or the Greatest?
- What pharmacies will look like six months from now
- I Like Pie