Insight in to how FTC… views pharmacy

In a recent article in DRUG TOPICS

Should independent pharmacies be given anti-trust immunity to act against contracts presented by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)? A representative of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said “no” and pharmacists said “yes” during a Congressional subcommittee hearing on HR 1946 last week.

“Giving healthcare providers – whether pharmacies, physicians, or others – a license to engage in price fixing and group boycotts aimed at extracting higher payments from third-party payers would be a costly step backward, not forward, on the path to a better health care system,” said Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC Bureau of Competition.

So it would appear that the FTC… believes that lower prices… higher Rx volume/RPH manhour…  more medication errors… will lead to a better health care system.

And we wonder why the anti-competitive ESI/Medco merger was allowed to proceed… it would appear in hindsight.. the whole FTC INVESTIGATION  of this merge… was either a mirage… or just a bureaucratic process… to make everyone believe that the FDA had changed its decades old opinion that PBM’s & mailorder is a good thing.

Of course, ESI/MEDCO are “insurance companies” in all 50 states … and the insurance industry is the industry behind the Part D Medicare program and taking on the management of more and more of  various programs funded by Federal/State programs… so they have a vested interest in aggregrate expenditures growing as slowly as possible.

Recently Texas turned its Medicaid program over to a “managed care” company… the requirement for the pharmacy network was that a person would have to travel no more than 15 miles EACH WAY to find a pharmacy… unless it was a 24 hr store.. then they could have to travel up to 75 miles… this is the Medicaid (poor) population… could this be a “backdoor” approach to encourage/force patients into mail order .. of this same “manage care” provider. Should “manage care” should be referred to as “manipulated care”?

Similar situation… where the reported CPI increases are being “managed” by the FEDS because all of those on Social security are entitled on annual increases in their monthly checks.. based on the CPI…


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