CNN reports that "Blue Shield of California will no longer use CVS Health’s Caremark as its pharmacy benefit manager and instead will partner with several companies, including Amazon Pharmacy and Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company. The insurer expects to save up to $500 million in annual drug costs once the multi-year plan is fully implemented … Blue Shield said that its new pharmacy care model is intended 'to fix problems in today’s broken prescription drug system'."
It is a shift with considerable sway - Blue Shield of California has 4.8 million members.
CNN explains that "pharmacy benefit managers are companies that negotiate rebates from drug manufacturers to insurers. They have come under fire from other players in the health care industry and from Congress because of their opaque practices. In particular, critics are concerned about how the companies are compensated and how their practices could drive up drug costs for consumers. Top benefit managers are part of large health care businesses that also own big insurers."
- KC's View:
CVS must love being described as part of "today’s broken prescription drug system," especially at a time when it is trying to expands its footprint in the nation's healthcare industry.
As for Amazon, it long has wanted to be intertwined in every part of people's lives, and this is another step in that direction.