OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pharmacy First, a national network of more than 2,300 independent pharmacies, filed a lawsuit against Express Scripts in Federal Court to seek relief for, among other things, Express Scripts effectively excluding from its network of 83 million or more lives from Pharmacy First and all other Pharmacy Services Administration Organizations (“PSAOs”), except for four PSAOs handpicked by Express Scripts.
By capturing those four PSAOs and using them to further Express Scripts’ interests, Express Scripts transformed what was once a much-needed advocate and bargaining agent for independent pharmacies into an agent of Express Scripts.
Express Scripts has taken steps to drive pharmacies into its select four PSAOs by imposing punitively-low and non-negotiable reimbursement rates, network restrictions, and additional administrative burdens. Express Scripts has also moved to prevent Pharmacy First and other PSAOs from providing reconciliation services to process electronic remittance advice from Express Scripts. Again, narrowing pharmacy choice to a few vendors approved by Express Scripts.
“Express Scripts’ attempt to capture and control the PSAO market is a stark example of what is wrong with the PBM business model. The relentless consolidation of PBMs has increased PBM power over not just Independent Community Pharmacies but also chain drugstores, drug manufacturers, drug wholesalers, and many others in the healthcare supply chain. These actions will ultimately increase costs, reduce access, choice, and convenience, and provide a new path to extract even more concessions from independent pharmacies that will further erode reimbursements and threaten the existence of many independents that are in small towns and rural communities across the country,” said Bob Dickey, CEO of Pharmacy First. “The continued existence of PSAOs as independent and competitive representatives of independent pharmacies is essential to counterbalance the immense PBM buying power and influence over the market. It is time for a change.”
About Pharmacy First
Serving more than 2,300 independent pharmacies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Pharmacy First provides services and support to keep its members competitive in an evolving market. Pharmacy First eases the administrative overhead of independent pharmacy operations by assisting with credentialing, third-party contract management and reconciliation/recovery, quality assurance, medication adherence services and more. For more information, visit pharmacyfirst.com.