Page 27

40113 ChoiceRx ePub long (1)

mail order pharmacy hasn’t arrived. Most of the time the patients can’t get into see their family physicians and are just requesting a week or two worth of pills to ‘carry them over’ until they get their shipment. Some patients try to split pills or take their medications every other day in order to hold out as long as they can.”22 Recommendations Transparency and Oversight Given the significant and disconcerting shortcomings of the mail-order delivery programs, policy changes must be implemented to address the issues discussed in this report. For starters, PBMs must adhere to and provide commonsense forms of disclosure. Protecting patients and their ability to access the pharmacy of their choice is of great importance. Taxpayers, the ones left to pay for these bills, deserve transparency. One way to achieve this is by implementing and holding PBMs accountable to requirements that foster an open and complete flow of information. Some members of Congress have already begun taking on this issue and are working to find savings for taxpayers. Specifically two bipartisan groups including eight U.S. Representatives – led by Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME) and Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) – recently sent a letter to the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Office of Inspector General (OIG) requesting an audit of the mail-order pharmacy program that is offered through TRICARE, the health care program for military personnel, retirees and their dependents. Specifically, the members are concerned that recent policies and programs, which have encouraged the use of TRICARE’s mail-order pharmacy program, may “contribute to pharmaceutical waste and unnecessary expenditures for the Department of Defense.” The letter also asks, “Is higher utilization of mail order resulting in waste… and increased health care costs for the Department of Defense?” 23 In addition to House action, U.S. Senators have also begun to weigh in on this issue. On September 28, 2012, Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) sent a letter to Lynne Halbrooks, Acting Inspector General for the Department of Defense. In their correspondence, the senators urge the Inspector General Halbrooks to “conduct an audit of the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy (TMOP) program to determine whether policies that encourage mail order prescription utilization may contribute to pharmaceutical waste and unnecessary expenditures for the Department of Defense (DOD).”24 The senators’ request is a crucial one in order to determine the extensive levels of waste that the taxpayers may be footing. A program like this one that lacks any true level of transparency is one that is also ripe for misuse of funds and other problems that cause financial harm to taxpayers—and potentially to patients. These letters raise important questions, and show a level of oversight by Congress rarely seen in this area. Both taxpayers and Congress deserve some critical answers. 22. “Mail Order Pharmacies Have Cheap Prices, but Also Problems.” Medpagetoday.com, 2 Sept. 2010. Web. 01 Feb. 2013. <http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/09/mail-order-pharmacies-cheap-prices-problems.html> 23. Letter from Renee Elmers, Walter B. Jones, Larry Kissell, Dave Loebsack, Michael H. Michaud, Steve Palazzo, Martha Roby, and Austin Scott, U.S. Congress Members, to Lynne M. Holbrooks, Acting Inspector Gen. of U.S. Dep’t of Def. (Aug. 3, 2012) available at http://www.ncpanet.org/pdf/leg/sep12/house-letter-halbrooks.pdf. 24. Letter from James Inhofe, Jeff Sessions, Roger Wicker, U.S. Senators, to Lynne M. Holbrooks, Acting Inspector Gen. of U.S. Dep’t of Def. (Sept. 28, 2012) available at https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.2&thid=13c93fbf2542752b&mt=application/ pdf&url=https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui%3D2%26ik%3Dbd83f21188%26view%3Datt%26th%3D13c93fbf25427 52b%26attid%3D0.2%26disp%3Dsafe%26realattid%3Db2853b79e5ed4874_0.2%26zw&sig=AHIEtbRhwil2_Rhrzk- 9BRVC4MgETDJr1OQ 27


40113 ChoiceRx ePub long (1)
To see the actual publication please follow the link above