Magazine article Drug Topics

ValueRx Lands New York's Employee Benefit Contract

Magazine article Drug Topics

ValueRx Lands New York's Employee Benefit Contract

Article excerpt

ValueRx will be administering the prescription drug-benefit for New York State employees and retirees, effective Jan. 1, 1994. The move marks a major shift in the balance of pharmacy-related managed care organizations operating in the state.

By landing the contract, Value, a subsidiary of Value Health Inc., Avon, Conn., replaces PAID Prescriptions, a subsidiary of Medco Containment Services Inc., as the state's prescription drug benefit administrator. PAID has held that role since July 1986.

The new contract means ValueRx will provide drug benefit services for about 700,000 state and local government employees, retirees, and their dependents, accounting for $256 million in drug costs. ValueRx will work with the state on a subcontracted basis with Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Cigna Corp.

In bidding for the contract, ValueRx promised to reduce the state's drug costs by 12%, or $33 million, next year. Cost-saving aspects of its program include the use of a formulary, a prior authorization requirement for the dispensing of especially pricey drugs, an on-line drug utilization review, and a review of physicians' prescribing patterns.

The program will include both a card plan and an option for participants to use a mail-order pharmacy service, said ValueRx spokeswoman Judith Hyfield-Starr. In essence, the plan will be the same for participants as what they had with PAID.

At the time of this reporting, how the new plan will impact pharmacists is still hard to gauge, said Joe Bova, president of the Pharmaceutical Society of the State of New York.

This is the first time ValueRx will have a large presence in the state, he told Drug Topics. Until now, it has had a minor presence in parts of Long Island. "We haven't really had the opportunity to test ValueRx yet," he added. …

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