Magazine article Drug Topics

PBM of Mostly Independents Flourishes in California

Magazine article Drug Topics

PBM of Mostly Independents Flourishes in California

Article excerpt

A small but scrappy pharmacy benefit management organization (PBM) is proving that a collective consisting mostly of independent pharmacies can thrive among the giants in the field.

The PBM, Managed Pharmacy Care Inc. (MPC), San Bernardino, Calif., reached the 200,000-enrollee mark in mid-June, said Gary Ellis, a spokesman for the organization. That's double its enrollment about six months earlier.

In June, MPC was named to handle the pharmacy benefit for 65,000 members of InterValley Health Plan, a health maintenance organization based in Pomona, Calif.

Part of the reason MPC won its latest contract was InterValley's perception that independent pharmacies are more likely than chain pharmacies to counsel patients and call physicians to get prescriptions switched to lower-cost alternatives, explained Bill Drake, director of provider services at the HMO. That perception was key, he added, as MPC was not the lowest bidder for the contract.

Pharmacies participating in MPC contracts agree to uphold a high level of communications with patients and physicians alike, Ellis noted. …

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