via Wall Street Journal
CVS Health Corp.’s decision to stop covering Pfizer Inc.’s anti-impotence pill Viagra for many of its drug-benefit plan members is the latest example of the tough tactics some health-care managers are using to control rising drug costs.
CVS and rival Express Scripts Holding Co., which together dominate the U.S. market for administering drug-benefit plans for employers and insurers, are excluding more drugs from coverage if there are viable alternatives in attempts to squeeze greater price discounts from manufacturers. The pharmacy-benefit managers, or PBMs, are steering patients to other drugs they say have equivalent safety and efficacy, but at lower costs.
A CVS spokeswoman declined to comment on the reasons for Viagra’s exclusion. She said the strategy of excluding drugs has resulted in “significant savings” for employers and other sponsors of benefit plans. The spokeswoman said “equally effective products with lower overall costs remain available within the formulary” as alternatives to excluded drugs..
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