United Healthcare Sued Over Mandatory Mail-Order Specialty Pharmacy Policy

Consumer Watchdog's latest lawsuit questions the legality of another mandatory mail-order program for specialty pharmaceuticals.

Consumer Watchdog’s latest lawsuit questions the legality of another mandatory mail-order program for specialty pharmaceuticals.

Consumer advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog has filed a lawsuit against United Healthcare alleging that the health insurer’s policy mandating the use of the its in-house mail-order pharmacy program, OptumRx, is discriminatory to patients on HIV medications.

As pointed out by Michelle Sherman of MichRx Consulting, the United Healthcare suit is extremely similar to the one Consumer Watchdog brought against Anthem Blue Cross earlier this year. That suit caused Anthem to suspend its proposed policy and continue allowing patients to fill prescriptions for specialty HIV medications at the pharmacy of their choice without penalty. In the Anthem settlement, patients had to actively opt out of the mandate in order to exercise their right to fill their prescriptions at the pharmacy of their choice without penalty.

“Based on our success in promptly addressing this issue with Anthem Blue Cross in California, we hope that United will take a similar approach to provide their vulnerable enrollees appropriate opportunities to choose what is best for them,” said Edith Kallas of Whatley Kallas, LLP, which is representing Consumer Watchdog in the lawsuit, in a press release.

Last year, United Healthcare was in the news for barring the use of copay cards for specialty medications that have lower-cost alternatives.