Blue Shield of California has announced a partnership with Amazon and Mark Cuban's drug company in an effort to address what they perceive as a "broken prescription drug system" and provide more affordable care. The nonprofit health plan plans to implement a new pharmacy care model that will change the way medications are purchased and supplied to its 4.8 million members.
According to Blue Shield, the current system rewards certain stakeholders for selling more drugs at higher costs, and they aim to change this. The CEO of Blue Shield of California, Paul Markovich, described the current pharmacy system as expensive, complex, opaque, and designed to maximize the profit of participants rather than prioritize quality, convenience, and cost-effectiveness for consumers.
Under the new plan, Amazon Pharmacy will be responsible for delivering medications to patients for free and will also offer 24/7 access to pharmacists. Additionally, the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company will create a more affordable pricing model to help patients access low-cost medications at pharmacy counters.
While Blue Shield of California will still rely on CVS Caremark for specialty pharmacy services, including education and high-touch patient support, CVS will no longer oversee the administration of drug benefits. The aim of this partnership is to save up to $500 million in annual drug costs once the multiyear strategy is fully implemented.
Blue Shield's CEO, Paul Markovich, believes that this new system will ensure that the right drugs are provided to the right people at the right time at a significantly lower cost. The partnership with Amazon and Mark Cuban's drug company is seen as a step towards fixing the current issues within the prescription drug system and providing more affordable care for Blue Shield's members.