Dec 21, 2022
Happy Holidays! Is it 2023 yet?
Kidding! 2022 was such a good year for PBM reform, we’ll be a bit sad to say goodbye.
We spent much of this year focused on PBM reform education, with PUTT Executive Director Monique Whitney participating on panels at the annual Community Oncology Alliance conference in March and the Partnership to Advance Cardiovascular Health (PACH) in November, in addition to talking to members of the media whenever possible.
Like many of you, we participated in the spring and summer FTC hearings, urging the commissioners to investigate PBMs over practices that disrupt patient care and drive so many pharmacy owners to the brink of - and sometimes beyond - permanently closing. And when the FTC voted unanimously to proceed with the investigative study, that sound we collectively heard in June was the implosion of PCMA’s “shift the blame” strategy (and possibly a rolling head or two).
PBM reform is a united effort, and PUTT was proud to strengthen relationships with other organizations leading the way, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Louisiana Independent Pharmacies Association (LIPA). This summer, we signed on to an amicus brief in support of LIPA for LIPA vs. Express Scripts, Inc, and continue to stand by the independent pharmacies in Louisiana as they deal with, of all things, the state’s Office of Group Benefits, who plans to execute an illegal contract with CVS Caremark (of course, who else?). LIPA filed a lawsuit for injunctive relief, only to see the 19th Judicial Court side with OGB. The suit is being appealed to the state First Circuit Court of Appeal.
PUTT Board members have also been on the move: Van Coble in Kansas remains a vociferous advocate for independent pharmacy, with a special eye on rural independent pharmacy. Bryan Kiefer, our Board member in Missouri serves on the Missouri Pharmacists Association Board of Directors, and sits on MPA’s legislative committee where he’s working on a number of projects including veteran outreach on Tricare and keeping Missouri’s Medicaid at fee-for-service. Oliver Lackey, our Oklahoma Board member, is working on the Temperature Excursion Committee in a detailed effort to protect patients’ from temperature-damaged medications when delivered through the mail.
Deborah Keaveny, PUTT’s Minnesota Board member, is working with the state attorney general’s office on a number of meaningful projects that could greatly improve the practice of pharmacy there. Her work includes assisting the state AG’s office with a lawsuit alleging collusion among insulin manufacturers, which appears to be spilling over into possible PBM involvement; investigating the Prime/ESI “unholy alliance” for antitrust violation and looking into the proposed merger of Sanford and Fairview. She’s also working with the AG’s office and the Minnesota Commerce Department on PBMs violating the 62W bill, which so far has resulted in the largest fine in state history ($1.25M), levied against CVS. These are just a few examples of how PUTT Board members are working to strengthen the business of pharmacy against continued PBM overreach.
As for other accomplishments in 2022, we took some time this year to shore up matters close to home, launching our new TruthRx mobile app; setting up an encrypted system for submitting evidence; developing some new fun graphics (did you see last month’s PBM Monopoly board? PUTT members can find it in the graphics library!) and a relentless campaign against the TRICARE pharmacy travesty (more to come - let’s just say when it comes to TRICARE, we won’t be ignored…). New this year, PUTT members can include their pharmacy on PUTT’s independent pharmacy finder..
Healthcare provider work takes its toll, and 2022 was a year to reflect on the realities of work behind the pharmacy counter. We spoke with “Would You Like Shots With That?” producers Anias Mennuti and Kim Kessler about the motivating factors behind the forthcoming documentary, and held a timely, sensitive conversation with our founder, Dave Marley, upon the release of his new book (see PUTTcast episode 27).
Finally, we took our shots at the ridiculous tactics of the opposition, pointing out the fallacies in their white paper alleging PBMs provide $50 billion annual economic value and may or may not have done some shots at the first ever PUTT PBM Reform Cocktail Party at the NCPA Conference (“because PBMs aren’t going to reform themselves”).
We thank you for your support this year, and look forward to working on your behalf again in 2023. From all of us at PUTT, we wish you the happiest of holidays this year!