Patients may have power when insurance companies try to switch prescription meds
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Patients may have power when insurance companies try to switch prescription meds

Date: March 8, 2011
By: Meghann Mollerus
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SB236

Intro: 
If a pharmacy benefit manager tries to switch a prescription, doctors and patients now could have more power in approving that switch with a bill heard by the Missouri Senate Health Committee.
RunTime:  0:45
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: Former legislative staffer Tracy Joyce says she is the reason for the bill.

Joyce fell years ago and tore her rotator cuff. 

When she went to get a refill of her medication by Express Scripts had switched her medication.

Actuality:  JOYCE.WAV
Run Time:  00:14
Description: "I was all for this until I said, well what are you talking about as far as the medications? And they basically said Advil and Aleve. And I said no, I have a history of ulcers...I have a history of bleeding ulcers."
 
Joyce says she incurred 15-thousand dollars of hospital costs when the replacement drugs gave her six ulcers.
 
On the other side, a CVS Caremark spokeswoman says 21 states have proposed similar laws that have been rejected because they would actually increase costs.
 
From the Missouri State Capitol, I'm Meghann Mollerus.

 
Intro: 
Patients could have more rights in deciding whether or not their prescriptions can be switched by pharmacy benefit managers, according to a bill heard by the Senate Health Committee.
RunTime:  0:47
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The bill would restrict the ability of pharmacy benefit managers from switching prescriptions to other medications.

CVS National pharmacy spokeswoman Lauren Rowley opposes the bill.  She says even now, no prescription can be switched to anything other than a generic version of the drug without consent from the patient's physician.

Actuality:  ROWLEY1.WAV
Run Time:  00:14
Description: "If the doctor says no, then the drug that is going to be dispensed to you is the one that was originally written. If the doctor says yes, then the drug can be dispensed. We also followed up you have to approve it as well. As an individual, you have to agree to the switch."

Despite CVS's opposition, some witnesses at the hearing say they have suffered severe health problems because their medications were switched to uncompatible generics or therapy.

From the Missouri State Capitol, I'm Meghann Mollerus.

Intro: 
Patients could have the power to be consulted before private benefit manager tries to switch prescription medications to generics, according to a Senate Health Committee Bill.
RunTime:  0:38
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The bill would restrict the ability of pharmacy benefit managers to switch prescriptions to other medications.

American Cancer Society spokeswoman says when she went to refill her daughter's respiratory virus script, the pharmacy told her the drug no longer was approved.

Actuality:  SNODGR.WAV
Run Time:  00:13
Description: "And, after five hours later of them trying to talk to the physicians, them trying to talk to the pharmacists, and trying to get someone on the line at Express Scripts, I finally just said, look, I'm paying for the drug. My daughter cannot breathe."

On the other side, opponents warn of higher insurance rates due to an increase in prescription drug costs.

From the Missouri State Capitol, I'm  Meghann Mollerus.


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