Community Pharmacist Group Greets Optum Rx Programs With Cautious Optimism

Optum Rx, the PBM owned by UnitedHealth Group, recently launched new programs that will reimburse community pharmacies for helping vulnerable and underserved patients access critical health care services. The move comes as major PBMs like Optum Rx are facing ever-increasing scrutiny for their business practices — including from rural and independent pharmacies that contend big PBMs are driving them out of business.

A trade group for community pharmacists and a health policy expert both say that the programs have promise, although they also say it’s unclear how big of an impact Optum Rx’s initiatives will ultimately make.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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