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June 19, 2019

Lembo: New pharmacy contract could save state millions

prescription drug connecticut

A newly inked prescription drug contract between Comptroller Kevin Lembo and CVS Caremark could save state government tens of millions of dollars a year, Lembo’s office said Wednesday.

Lembo, who oversees benefits for 200,000 state and municipal employees, retirees and their dependents, has railed against rising prescription drug costs in recent years.

He’s urged lawmakers to pass reforms that shine a light on hidden financial incentives, like drug rebates, in the pharmacy market, which he blames as healthcare cost drivers.

lembo public option
Photo | Contributed
Comptroller Kevin Lembo

The newly negotiated deal with CVS, which has been the state’s pharmacy benefit manager for some time, is the “first of its kind in the nation” and gives the state “a full line of sight” into drug costs, Lembo said in a statement.

“Even more importantly, it extends this unprecedented transparency to providers who will have a complete view of the true net costs of medications that they prescribe – and that of any therapeutic equivalents – so that doctors and all prescribing providers can make“ fully informed decisions to help drive down pharmacy costs and improve outcomes for all,” he said. 

The contract is expected to shave 10 percent off the state’s prescription drug costs. Those fluctuate from year to year. Lembo's office on Wednesday pegged the recent annual cost at approximately $300 million.

Under the terms of the deal, CVS will also be required to disclose to the state all drug manufacturer payments it receives for those covered by the state plan.  The contract also requires that pharmacies provide any available drug rebates to consumers at the counter.  

The new contract is the result of a request for proposals Lembo issued in December.

Gov. Ned Lamont, who was allied with Lembo this year on creating a public option health plan for small businesses and residents -- before opposition from Cigna pushed Democrats to pull the plug on the legislation -- thanked CVS Wednesday.

“This new contract is a major accomplishment towards achieving the structural healthcare savings in the adopted budget,” Lamont said in a statement. “As one of our state's largest employers, we value the leadership CVS has demonstrated in helping to reduce drug costs that will further assist Connecticut families at a time when they need help the most.”

For it’s part, CVS said it’s “privileged” to continue to serve as the state’s PBM.

“We’re always listening to our customers and evolving to meet their needs, and our renewed contract with the State of Connecticut demonstrates our commitment to greater transparency, flexibility and cost predictability,” Derica Rice, CVS Caremark president, said in a statement.

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June 20, 2019

Is this a bribe to get Corrupticut to back the merger with Aetna that seems to have hit a snag.
Big Business and Big brother work hand in hand yet again.

June 20, 2019

The contract also states that in order to get the reduced co-pays on drugs you only have two choices where you can purchase the drugs, CVS or mail order. I will never go to a CVS.

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