Where's The Vaccine?
February 15, 2021
2021. So far for pharmacies, it's been a wild ride. The much anticipated advent of the COVID vaccine(s) has spawned additional issues with rollout and availability capabilities - many of which can be tied back to misinformation, corporate territorialism and lack of proper planning.
Does anyone else hear a common PBM theme here?
States that are excelling in the vaccination effort are those including their local independent pharmacies in all phases of distribution. In an MSNBC interview this month, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice noted that, “instead of letting vaccines sit on shelves we saw that our elderly wanted to go to their local pharmacies and clinics… We incorporated everybody together… and said we’re not going to let vaccines sit on shelves.” And, in a January interview on Face the Nation, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson remarked, “Our independent pharmacies are doing a better job of getting it (the vaccine) out. They’re acting with more urgency than the chain pharmacies.”
The facts are that the CVS/Walgreens partnership was allocated more than 4.7 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but as of mid-January -- a month after rollout began in many states -- had only administered a quarter of those vaccines.
ACROSS THE NATION
Are pharmacy benefit managers operating a big shell game?
The Free Lance-Star
February 28, 2021
You’re probably sick of reading about COVID-19, and all the ways it can stress you out. So, instead, let me bring to your attention a different health care issue for you to fret about.
It’s an issue that epitomizes the way health care is being taken over by business entities whose priority is to make money more than to provide effective affordable health care to the people it is serving.
I’m talking about pharmacy benefit managers—PBMs.
I have been aware of these third-party administrators of prescription drug programs for awhile. I had heard rumors they were driving up drug prices. But my vague notions were solidified by reading “The Price We Pay: What Broke American Healthcare—and How We Fix it” by Dr. Marty Makary.
Makary is a surgeon at Johns Hopkins, and was the lead author of a report in JAMA in 2017 about hospitals suing patients for outstanding medical bills. You may have read about him when he came to Fredericksburg and advised patients being taken to court by Mary Washington Healthcare in 2019.