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Hepatitis C breakthrough promises first-ever clinical cure

With the approval of new drugs telaprevir and boceprevir, a true clinical cure for chronic hepatitis C is available for the first time. But, the drugs come at a significant cost.
November 2011 Issue 4

UnitedHealth Group to bring all pharmacy benefit management and fulfillment services in-house

The contract between UnitedHealth Group and Medco Health Solutions, Inc., expires at the end of 2012. Bringing these services in-house will enhance our ability to improve health outcomes for members.

New generics coming including 20 best-selling drugs

Over the next 14 months, seven of the world’s 20 best-selling drugs will become available as a generic, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix.

Get ready for expanded contraception coverage

New health plan coverage rules require health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services without charging a copayment, coinsurance or deductible.

No confusion: Walgreens is in our network

Some of our members received letters that caused confusion over Walgreens’ network status. Here are the facts.

Letter from the
Chief Pharmacy
Officer

Susan V. Maddux
Pharm D. BCPS
Chief Pharmacy Officer

November 2011 Issue 4

In this issue

  • Hepatitis C breakthrough promises first-ever clinical cure
  • UnitedHealth Group to bring all pharmacy benefit management and fulfillment services in-house
  • New generics coming including 20 best-selling drugs
  • Get ready for expanded contraception coverage
  • No confusion: Walgreens is in our network

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Letter from the Chief
Pharmacy Officer

We’re happy to be able to present the latest issue of Pharmacy InFocus. Our goal is to bring clarity to some of the issues that may impact your pharmacy benefit. Topics in this issue include:

  • A new class of drugs recently won approval that promise to significantly reduce the long-term health and cost consequences of chronic hepatitis C. We address the significant costs of these new therapies and the steps we’re taking at UnitedHealthcare Pharmacy to manage these costs.
  • We are proceeding with our plans to bring all pharmacy benefit management and fulfillment services in-house in a disciplined, systematic way. Beginning with this issue, we’ll provide regular updates on our progress.
  • A number of popular brand name drugs are switching to generic over the next few years. Learn about our strategy to manage costs during this transition period.
  • Changes continue to unfold from the health reform bill that passed last year. We report on the new health plan coverage guidelines on women’s preventive services.
  • Finally, some of our members have been affected by the very public contract dispute between Walgreens and Express Scripts. A short article reaffirms that Walgreens remains in our network.

Thank you for reading Pharmacy InFocus. We want to make sure it is a useful tool in your pharmacy benefit toolkit. Please be sure to email us at pharmacy_news@uhc.com with your feedback and suggestions.



Regards,



Susan V. Maddux, Pharm.D., BCPS
Chief Pharmacy Officer