Message Heard – Pharmacy Costs are in the Spotlight

Rx Prescription #2

No doubt the health insurance carriers are getting the message: pharmacy costs are too high, and pricing is not transparent. UnitedHealthcare has announced that they will begin passing rebates directly to retail purchasers at the point of purchase. Pharmacy rebates – which are usually shared between the pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) and the health insurer… [Read More]

Specialty Pharmaceuticals in the Spotlight


It seems I am writing a lot about drugs. And for good reason. In a recent National Business Group on Health survey, 80% of employers report specialty pharmaceuticals as one of the top three cost drivers of healthcare, and 31% say that specialty pharmacy is the highest driver. Still, only 1-2% of the population use… [Read More]

Express Scripts’ Acquisition of Medco and the Prescription Drug Marketplace


I am excited to share some of my observations from the annual Express Scripts/Medco Leader’s Conference held last week. Drug Cost Trends Clearly, prescription drug cost trends are flattening. Despite the fact that we are living longer and have a greater incidence of chronic and complex conditions, in 2011, the year over year drug cost increase… [Read More]

Communicating at the Brink


As I write this in December 2011, contract negotiations between Express Scripts, the Empire pharmacy benefit vendor, and Walgreens are not going well. This situation, like all tense carrier/vendor contract negotiations, brings up the question of how member groups should handle communications to their employees when a network disruption appears imminent. Should you hang in… [Read More]