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What does it mean for pharmacy benefits to be equitable?

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) is often at the forefront of shining light on issues of concern to health plan sponsors, their employees and employees’ families. As a PBM focused on making prescription drugs more affordable and accessible for all, VativoRx often finds itself in agreement with PCMA on big issues.

Recently, PCMA turned its focus beyond affordability and accessibility toward equitability – the fair distribution of pharmacy benefits across the population.

Affordability and access should be available to all

PCMA CEO JC Scott addressed a recent Health and Human Services report that shows minorities in Medicare are the most likely to experience prescription drug affordability problems. He said, “We recognize that these significant inequities still exist in our health care system. For America’s PBMs, our mission is simple: increase affordable access to prescription drugs for everyone. We believe care should be patient-focused, equitable, and affordable.”

VativoRx’s CEO and Managing Partner Lisa Quarterman agrees. “Whether in Medicare, the federal-driven healthcare Marketplace, or private insurance, all members and their families deserve access to the most affordable prescription drug coverage as possible. Since day one of our company, we’ve worked to make that a reality.”

Four important goals to approach healthcare equity

PCMA recently issued a report that looks at four patient-centered goals to make healthcare patient-focused, equitable and affordable. In the coming days, we will focus on each of these areas: 

  • Address disparities in access, disease burden, and outcomes. Inequities and disparities affect every aspect of health—from access to care to disease burden to outcomes. PBMs are advancing a range of strategies to improve alignment between the accessibility and experience of care and individual patients’ needs, preferences, and goals.
  • Promote equitable, affordable pharmacy benefit design. PBMs are helping employers and other drug coverage sponsors advance equitable care through patient-centered quality improvement initiatives in areas of clinical vulnerability and disparities, such as diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.
  • Invest in meaningful, data, evidence, and measurement. Without accurate and up-to-date data, it is difficult to identify the individual factors that drive disparities and how best to address them. PBMs are actively investing in and advancing new ways to use available data and other indicators to advance equitable care.
  • Create a culture of equity and patient-centered care. The quality, affordability, and accessibility of pharmaceutical care should not differ because of an individual’s personal circumstance, nor should their health care. The PBM industry is committed to sustained industry action on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) within our own workplaces; in partnership with stakeholders across our shared health care system; and in collaboration on behalf of patients with drug coverage sponsors, health care prescribers, and pharmacists.

“VativoRx fully supports the conversation around increasing affordable access to prescription drugs for everyone,” says Quarterman, “and making care patient-focused, equitable, and affordable.”

This is part two of four detailed examinations of how to create more equitable healthcare. The parts are:

Martin Shields / Alamy Stock Photo

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