Opinion: Fight for your local pharmacy

MEEKER | Yo Adrienne!?!
It’s time to put on the gloves. I’m trying to be funny but there is nothing catchy or fun about this conversation. This topic is one that is affecting our community and its future.
Before I spill an enormous amount of information on you, I would like to apologize. I have been spending so much time with my head down “working” on my business I have taken for granted the fact that I should be sharing my knowledge and educating our community on behind-the-scenes issues that are threatening our sustainability.
This week I would like to share an issue that you probably have no idea you should be fighting for if you have a vested interest in our community.
I am very much a Pollyanna and always have faith that things work out for the good, but I have been naïve in thinking that these global, big pharma and health care issues would work themselves out and our community would not be affected.
The sustainability of our community is under attack in so many ways. The “big guys” have outdone themselves and continue to send out information that is premature and working in their favor. And, after several conversations with them, they have no intention of correcting their inaccurate and deceptive campaigns.
Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) are contracted to process the pharmaceutical benefits for your health insurance plans. Express Scripts is the PBM for all Anthem and BlueCross plans and CVS/Caremark is the PBM for CEBT. Anthem currently is the preferred insurance company for all of Colorado’s county offices and is also one of the only insurance providers available for individual and family plans for private purchase in Colorado. CEBT is the preferred company for all of Colorado’s special districts and PERA accounts.
Both PBM’s are leaders in the forced mail order campaign. They will stop at nothing to force their consumers into these programs, including sending out premature or deceptive correspondences.
This is the immediate problem in our community: a letter was sent out (not only in our county) that stated many local pharmacies would not be “participating” or contracted with Anthem plans. This was premature and false information. CVS has also sent out information that looks like mail-order is your only option. Again, false. The information to choose local is in tiny writing with an 800 number to call if you choose to trade at the local level. Many other group plans allow fills at the local level for initial fills but then require a phone call to the PBM to continue shopping local. Funny, they use this phone call as a way to get your full attention and pitch their mail order sale program.
I am very passionate about the impact these large companies have on not only Meeker’s community but on all small town/rural communities. I would love to have a one-on-one conversation with anyone who has questions about this issue. Please contact me personally at Meeker Drugs or check out our website at smalltownexperience.com.

Diana Jones
By DIANA JONES | Meeker Drugs