Retail News Breaks Archives
Poll: Patients want more control over Rx benefits
February 14th, 2012
ATLANTA – When it comes to prescription drug benefits, pharmacy patients seek a greater degree of control over access to and choice of services and providers, a survey commissioned by the Georgia Pharmacy Association (GPhA) found.
GPhA said the poll of more than 600 Georgians covered by health insurance, which was conducted by Rosetta Stone Communications, revealed that nearly 83% of respondents oppose mandatory mail-order programs by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
What's more, 64% of those surveyed didn't know about PBMs and their influence in setting formularies and co-payments. And 72% said PBMs shouldn't be allowed to establish different co-pays for pharmacies in which they have a financial interest than those in which they don't hold ownership.
In addition, about 61% of respondents indicated they support Georgia state legislation that would allow pharmacists to administer commonly needed vaccines to adults without a doctor's prescription (in addition to flu shots, which have been allowed since 2008).
"Our pharmacists care for thousands of Georgians every day, and they are always tuned in to the needs of their patients," GPhA executive vice president Jim Bracewell said in a statement. "These survey results are even more compelling than we first thought."
The findings come amid increased public and government scrutiny of PBMs. A host of community groups and public officials have spoken out against the proposed merger of PBMs Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, calling the deal anticompetitive and a threat to community pharmacy access and care. Meanwhile, a contract dispute between Express Scripts and Walgreen Co. has also raised consumer concerns about local pharmacy access, as well as fanned the competitive flames between drug store operators and PBMs.
"The results reinforce the need for employers and other health plan sponsors to protect patients' choice of pharmacy," National Community Pharmacists Association spokesman Kevin Schweers stated Tuesday in a blog post on the GPhA poll findings. "The survey also underscores why plan sponsors and policymakers should support greater pharmacy competition and transparency in pharmacy benefits, which the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act (S. 1058/H.R. 1971) would help achieve. "