Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

The Government Accountability Office(GAO), a nonpartisan arm of Congress,recently uncovered serious, rampant problemsin a government program that issueddrug cards to Medicare beneficiaries. Thecards were issued by insurance companiesand pharmacy benefit managers(PBMs). The sponsors had contracts withthe federal government, which approvedtheir cards and regulated their operations.

The GAO's report highlighted the followingissues:

  • Information about discount cards,posted on a government Web site andsent to beneficiaries, was inaccurate
  • Insurance companies and PBMs violatedfederal rules by sending outincomplete, erroneous informationabout their own Medicare-approveddiscount cards
  • Sponsors of 5 drug cards permittedbeneficiaries to receive funding thatexceeded the statutory maximum of$600 a year
  • Enrollment was lower than expecteddue to "confusion and misperceptionsabout the drug cards amongMedicare beneficiaries"

In defense of the discount card program,Mark B. McClellan,MD, PhD, administratorof the Centers for Medicare andMedicaid Services, said that the problemshave been addressed and "most submissionsare now accurate."