DRUG FORMULARIES: Editorial Blasts DOC Investigation
In a Sacramento Bee editorial, Tom Philp writes that although the Department of Corporations' investigation of managed care formularies "had the right cast of characters for a major political melodrama," the story lacked "one key thing: any finding that the HMOs had actually done something wrong. Nearly five months later, regulators who were once eager to trumpet the launch of their investigation have turned mum." Philp argues that HMOs need formularies to check spiraling drug costs, and lays the blame for the DOC investigation squarely at the feet of the group Citizens for the Right to Know -- which he says was "launched by the drug industry." Philp cites Kassy Perry, whose offices provide the base for the group's operations, as saying that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America "provided the seed money to get the coalition together." Philp writes, "For an organization that promotes disclosure, the group ... exists largely in name only and is not organized as its own non- profit entity. If it were, it would have to disclose ... its finances and bylaws." Noting that the DOC approved the huge majority of the HMOs' formulary changes, an arguing there is "no evidence that formulary changes put patients at risk," Philp concludes, "Drug by drug, letter by letter, this highly publicized probe keeps fizzling. Was it worth the effort?" (5/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.