Medco CEO's Remarks Caught by Trade Publication, Reported in Article Titled "Medco CEO Champions Robots Over Pharmacists"

10/12/2011 11:23 AM  RssIcon

A trade publication reporter contacted NACDS to request a comment about recent remarks by Medco Chairman and CEO David Snow regarding community pharmacy.  NACDS responded by saying that the remarks “are a window into the true thinking of the companies [Medco and Express Scripts] that are seeking to merge.”

“I’m not dissing retail [pharmacy], but…there’s a fiction that a pharmacist comes out and dialogues with you,” said Snow, as quoted by Ben Comer of Pharmaceutical Executive magazine.  “In reality, a high school student hands you a script from the shelf.” 

Comer wrote, “In a follow-up dis to retail pharmacists, Snow added that Medco’s ‘robots’ are ‘twenty-three times more accurate’ than human pharmacists.”

NACDS’ complete response, as provided to Pharmaceutical Executive magazine, follows:

These comments are a window into the true thinking of the companies that are seeking to merge.  If there were any doubt about their intent to impose mandatory mail order on more patients, depriving patients of their choice of pharmacies, then these comments should erase such doubt at this point. 

When it serves their purposes, such as under tough questioning at a September 20 Congressional hearing, these companies speak of their partnership with community pharmacy.  Then, they turn around and devalue and disparage community pharmacy.  One has to wonder about what their true intent means for patients, employers and health plans.

Conflicting statements like these give no reason for confidence on other issues, which is why consumer groups and members of Congress have expressed skepticism that a new mega-PBM would pass along to patients, employers and health plans any of its cost-savings – if there are any savings at all.

The reality is that there is no greater value in patient care than community pharmacy.  North Carolina’s ChecKmeds NC program is one example of how face-to-face medication therapy management services for Medicare patients have helped to deliver a return-on-investment of $13.55 for every $1 invested. 

Americans trust their community pharmacists and find them to be highly accessible.  Pharmacists have ranked in the top three each of the past eight years of the annual Gallup survey of integrity across professions.  In a poll conducted by Charlton Research Company, pharmacists rated as the most trustworthy source on health and medical research issues.  A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that Americans report the least amount of difficulty in accessing care from pharmacists compared with others in healthcare delivery. 

These comments reinforce the belief that patient choice and prevention of an anti-competitive environment are worth fighting for.

The article can be viewed by clicking here.

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