Novo Nordisk’s partnership with CVS is an interesting development for the healthcare industry, and one that’s likely to indirectly affect hospitals as their patients enjoy improved access to life-saving drugs, according to Julie Rubin, PharmD, BCPS, director of clinical services, at CompleteRx.
“As drug prices have increased over the past few years, we’ve witnessed the unfortunate trend of patients neglecting to fill their prescriptions—especially insulin, which has seen some of the most dramatic price increases—because they can’t afford them, increasing their risk of ending up back in the hospital for complications resulting from noncompliance,” Rubin says. “This program should lead to more patients filling their prescriptions, and hopefully, a reduction in costly hospital readmissions. Given the apparent benefits to all parties, I fully expect to see more partnerships like it in the future.”
Medical Economist Robert Goldberg, PhD, co-founder and vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, believes that “this is an act of desperation that begs the question about why PBMs don't just pass through all discounts to consumers for all medicines. Indeed, PBMs will continue to pocket rebates and impose cost sharing on those people who have no other choice but to get their benefits from them,” he says.
Finally, says Goldberg, it perpetuates and explodes the myth that PBMs depend upon restricting access to generate savings for consumers. “If all PBMs will do is give patients net pricing of drugs why do we need them?” he asks.
“We developed this specific offering with Novo Nordisk because we both recognized a need and an opportunity to make insulin more affordable for patients. We anticipate that over time CVS Health will expand the medications offered to patients at a lower price through the Reduced Rx program, covering other conditions and other medications,” Britt says.