See previous post that discusses the communication that went out to the clients of CVS/Caremark’s PBM services. In that email, specifically they DENIED that a generic to Epipen even existed!!!!
And in another blog post, we illustrated how CVS/Caremark through their joint generic purchasing venture with Cardinal Health must have been strong arming Mylan to reduce price for them and PBM clients (rebates up in the air…) as even 10 days after product was launched and was in every other major wholesaler in America, no Cardinal Health (including independent pharmacies) customers could order Moylan’s generic to their own Epipen – as talks were ongoing as REDOAK – the joint venture – was trying to UNDERSTAND the launch and how it was going to affect reimbursement issues. Code words for: WE DEMAND BETTER REBATES.
Less than a week after the product is finally at Cardinal Health, CVS announced that they were going to promote and lower price of the generic to Adrenaclick’s version of epinephrine autoinjector to $110 for a 2 pack. Hurray, hurray, aren’t they wonderful? Isn’t CVS really leading the way here? Aren’t they adding value to clients, payers and patients? Sure you say, of course you can say as how could you say any different.
So, this generic product to Adrenaclick HAS been available this entire time and even retail pricing it is at least 2/3 the price of EpiPen. So a LESS expensive alternative to Epipen has been available this entire time – you ask? The answer YES!!!!!!!! So, why wasn’t this in the newsletter to the clients in response to the Epipen controversy? Answer: they didn’t want to give up their rebate, which was the ENTIRE point of the CEO of Mylan who unveiled the truth behind Rx pricing like no one has done in recent years to expose the shenanigans of PBMs who use these tactics to their (financial) advantage, all the while saying they do so for their clients (which may or may not get their rebates 100% passed through to them).
Since the price of this magically appearing product on CVS formularies and in their stores is now so low, can patients get anywhere? Answer: of course not – JUST at CVS pharmacies or I’m sure through CVS mail order pharmacies. Well you ask, what about the Cardinal Health customers who may see a residual benefit through aggressive generic RedOak contracting – answer: NO! Cardinal Health independents are in the same boat as every other non-CVS pharmacy in America.
WHY did they do this? Answer we believe is to combat negative publicity as the CEO of Mylan (the true HERO) has painted them into a corner. They said plainly they WILL stock a less expensive generic (when that was available the entire time) but they said WHEN it becomes available. And NOW its obviously available, and then obviously Mylan wasn’t interested in playing the RxRebate game with their generic (as that was the entire point as the CEO said to “bypass” this pricing system), so what was left? Finally acknowledge the generic that’s been available the entire time and partner on lowering the price (with the generic company realizing the offset in profit will be gained in market share). Win/win for all Americans. Lose/lose for all Independent pharmacies and other chains – national or regional that have also been victims of these pricing shenanigans and who’ve just been trying to help patients – but that doesn’t garner front page news then does it?