Reports Expose PBM Clawbacks, Medical Waste

In WVUE Fox 8 News of New Orleans’s investigative series on medical waste and PBM clawbacks, Lee Zurik and the FOX 8 Investigations Unit examine the rising costs of prescription meds and questionable practices by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries—factors that are changing our financial health and our physical health for the worse. So far, six installments in the series have aired, all of which can be viewed by clicking the links below. Please take a moment to watch and share each of these video reports and the accompanying articles with the folks in your community as we work to bring these matters to the attention of the public and lawmakers.

Zurik: Copay or you-pay? Prescription drug clawbacks draw fire

May 4, 2016 - Mr. Zurik’s initial report centered on PBM clawbacks, exposing how certain PBMs charge patients a co-pay that is higher than the drugs actual costs. Of course, due to restrictions in their contract, the pharmacist can do nothing to inform the patient of the lower-cost cash price available to them unless specifically asked by the patient. The subject of this article tie in directly with LIPA-sponsored Senate Bill 131, which would allow pharmacists to begin telling patients if their medication would be cheaper to buy without insurance, a practice currently forbidden by most PBM contracts. Part 1→

Zurik: Cassidy slams drug cost clawbacks, demands transparency

May 5, 2016 - In his Thursday report, Lee sat down with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to discuss the lack of drug pricing transparency and strategies for fixing these issues legislatively. Sen. Cassidy (R-La.) asked for copies of the receipts Zurik had received from pharmacists and said, "This receipt is worth a thousand words." Cassidy is a physician and a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Part 2→


Zurik: United/Optum defends prescription 'overpayment program'

May 9, 2016 - A series of emails FOX8 received from a subsidiary of United Healthcare raises more serious questions about the country's largest health carrier. As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, United says its charging customers a copay for some drugs. But in actuality, that copay is a “you-pay” - United charges more than the cost of the drug. Zurik dissects United’s statement in this follow-up to his Medical Waste investigation. Part 3→

Zurik: The Kind of Drug Prices That Make People Sick

May 11th 2016 - Insurance costs for prescription medications are greater now than the costs for physician services. Patients are taking a hit in their bank account, whenever they go to the pharmacy. And some patients simply can't afford their meds anymore. Big Pharma blames high research & development costs - but Mr. Zurik’s findings in this report suggest otherwise. Part 4→

Zurik: Brand name med costs are a tough pill to swallow

What's the real difference between brand name meds and their generic counterparts? Local pharmacists tell us many pharmaceutical companies are charging different prices for essentially the same product. Lee Zurik of Fox 8 New Orleans conducted a sort of experiment to make consumers aware - and perhaps quench their thirsts at the same time. Part 5→

Zurik: Pharmacists, customers nationwide coping with clawbacks

The Zurik investigation has revealed some of nation's biggest insurance carriers are forcing customers to pay a premium on some prescription drugs, charging them more than the actual cost – “clawing back” money from the pharmacy and customer. Now, some customers are finding better, cheaper options. Part 6→