Pharmacy Update: June 17

Over the past year, PillPack has been accused in different lawsuits of violating federal law by calling or texting consumers to solicit business, a practice that has prompted regulators to take a tougher stand against unwanted marketing. And in one suit, PillPack, a subsidiary of Amazon, is attempting to force a consumer to settle her claim in arbitration, a stance that is unlikely to be seen as friendly toward potential customers.

In other legal action, the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation and its former pharmacy benefits manager, OptumRx, will try to resolve a $16 million legal dispute through confidential, non-binding medication. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed suit against OptumRx claiming the PBM overcharged the state for prescription drugs for injured workers by failing to adhere to agreed-upon discounts on generic drugs for about three years. OptumRx disputes the suit

Overdose death rates linked to synthetic opioids, likely from illicitly manufactured fentanyl, increased more than 45% in the U.S. from 2016 to 2017, while death rates from heroin and prescription opioids remained stable, reports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At the same time, CDC’s analysis also shows that overdose death rates involving heroin and prescription opioids were, respectively, seven and four times higher in 2017 than in 1999.

The number of licensure transfer requests submitted through the NABP Electronic Licensure Transfer Program increased from 16,193 in 2017 to 16,740 requests in 2018. West Virginia witnessed 368 transfers into the state while 144 transferred outside the state in 2018.