Transparency? Let’s start with Pharmacy
There is a new web service called bidrx.com. They aspire to be a website that links consumers with pharmacies, manufacturers, prescribers and payers so all can make better decisions when purchasing prescription drugs. I am familiar with them because they are based in my part of Northeast Wisconsin.
I have long thought that we could really provide our patients with a service by providing them information regarding what local pharmacies are charging for the medications that we are about to prescribe for them. Because electronic prescribing systems fax/transmit the prescriptions directly to the pharmacy, we are forcing patients to choose a pharmacy without having the information they need to make a good buying decision.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we could imbed bidrx.com’s technology/information in an electronic prescribing system? So instead of choosing that pharmacy based upon convenience, the patient could also consider price (which could vary by $100 for something like a dose of lamisil).
That was the idea that I floated past an e-prescribing developer. But he pointed out that their SureScripts agreement from steering patients to a particular pharmacy. The road to remaking healthcare is filled with obstacles like this. The pharma industry is especially good at putting up roadblocks. Health plans don’t even know the unit cost of the medications that the pay for. They just get one big bill from the Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM). There is a lot of trust and little transparency.
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