National Coalition Launched Aid In Controlling Prescription Drug Costs

Armen Hareyan's picture

Prescription Drug Costs

A collection of 35 small and medium-sized labor unions and local union shops are taking an aggressive step in addressing the cost of providing prescription drug coverage to their members by joining the Medco Labor Coalition - the first pharmacy benefit sponsored prescription health benefits coalition of its kind for small to mid-sized unions in the United States.

The national discussion around health benefits for organized labor has largely centered on large national and international unions with hundreds of thousands of members or more. Yet lost in the discussion are small and mid-sized unions, which often times do not have the membership of larger groups to gain leverage in purchasing benefits, and thus face a healthcare benefits challenge similar to that of small businesses - finding a low cost solution in order to preserve affordable drug coverage.

The Medco Labor Coalition - introduced by Medco Health Solutions, Inc., the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager - is designed for unions with fewer than 20,000 members. The Coalition provides lower-cost pharmacy benefits more comparable to those experienced by larger labor organizations, by allowing member groups to work directly with the PBM to purchase their benefits rather than through a third-party. Coalition member unions may also retain their existing prescription drug plan, thus allowing for the independence and flexibility in plan design that is so important to union leadership.

"Small and mid-sized unions are finding it more and more difficult to preserve drug coverage for members and their families - a need this Coalition is designed specifically to address," said Frank Gentilella, VP/GM Labor, Medco. "This Coalition is the result of Medco's vast experience in helping organized labor provide comprehensive prescription drug coverage for millions of American families; and demonstrates our commitment to helping preserve drug coverage for tens of thousands of additional working people and their loved ones."


Members of the Coalition and their families will also gain access to numerous clinical services and drug safety programs including Medco's new Therapeutic Resource Centers, which feature hundreds of specialist pharmacists trained in specific chronic or complex conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"Our mission is to support our members and their families by providing them with the best coverage possible," said Lou Malzone, Executive Director, National Alliance of Health Plan Coalitions, National Labor Association. "Medco understands our mission, and has the experience in organized labor to help us deliver on our promise to our members."

Labor unions have struggled with health care inflation as much as governments and businesses, especially since union membership rates are highest among 45 to 64 year olds - ages when hospital and doctor visits and prescription drug demand start to accelerate. Addressing escalating health costs, the formation of health benefit purchasing coalitions have gained momentum over the past few years as a potential solution among municipalities, small business organizations and universities who use their numbers gain lower-cost solutions.

Comprehensive Rx Coverage

The Medco Labor Coalition provides a comprehensive suite of drug benefit services to small-to-mid-size unions to help manage the cost of prescription drugs while keeping members and their families healthy. The Coalition's plan includes: