Yost promises more action against pharmacy middlemen: ‘They took our money’

The Columbus Dispatch | Marty Schladen

Ohio’s first steps toward legal action against pharmacy middlemen are far from its last, Attorney General Dave Yost said Tuesday.

With a change in governors, the new attorney general predicted more transparency and accountability for companies handling billions of dollars worth of drug transactions.

Yost was speaking at an Associated Press legislative preview about his office’s first steps to claw back almost $16 million that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has paid OptumRx to handle the agency’s pharmacy benefits.

“I get the question from time to time, ‘Are there any other shoes to drop?’ Baby, we’re in DSW,” Yost said, making a reference to the Designer Shoe Warehouse.

Along with CVS Caremark, OptumRx does a far more lucrative business on behalf of Ohio Medicaid than it did on behalf of the workers’ compensation bureau. The agency fired OptumRx after an analyst determined that the company was overcharging the bureau. Yost said his office determined that OptumRx violated its contract by failing to timely pass along savings as prices of generic drugs dropped.

“In other words, if the price of a drug goes down, they’re supposed to lower their price to the bureau of workers’ comp,” Yost said. “What we found is that they played the float and that they would wait a month or two or even longer before they would pass the savings on according to the contract.”

He added: “They took our money.”

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