Recent polling conducted at the request of the Georgia Pharmacy Association (GPhA) yielded two primary findings. First, patients overwhelmingly want a choice between local pharmacies and mail order facilities. Second, most patients do not know what a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) is and even more disapprove of the common practice of requiring the use of mail order for medications.
A firm commissioned by GPhA collected responses from over 600 likely Georgia voters covered by health insurance. Respondents were asked about some of the most common issues in prescription drug benefit plan design.
Among the key findings:
- Four out of five patients (82) said they oppose “mandatory mail” plans that require the use of mail order pharmacies (as opposed to using local pharmacies).
- Nearly three out of four patients (72 percent) said it should be illegal for benefit managers to set different patient co-payments for PBM-owned pharmacies than they do for pharmacies in which the PBM has no financial interest.
- Most (64 percent) were not aware of PBMs or their impact on setting formularies and co-payment arrangements. One in four respondents was familiar with PBMs; the rest expressed no opinion.
- By a 3:1 margin, patients support allowing pharmacists to administer commonly needed vaccines. Peach State pharmacists gained the authority to immunize against influenza in 2008 and the state is considering expanding pharmacist-administered immunizations.
While not surprising, the results reinforce the need for employers and other health plan sponsors to protect patients’ choice of pharmacy. The survey also underscores why plan sponsors and policymakers should support greater pharmacy competition and transparency in pharmacy benefits, which the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act, S. 1058/H.R. 1971, would help achieve.
For more information on the survey, conducted by Rosetta Stone Communications, click here or contact GPhA.