Originally published on Feb 26, 2019.

 

*The article was updated 2/26/2019 at 5:20PM EST to reflect a more accurate description of an acquisition transaction*
A new development in the NABP / Optum Rx lawsuit over Optum Rx’s VAWD Accreditation requirement has lead to the extension of the de facto “injunction”  from Optum Rx’s VAWD requirement for the wholesale plaintiffs of that suit.
Case Development
A review of the online docket for the case has revealed that the Court has granted an order requesting that the preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for February 22, 2019 be adjourned until April 11, 2019. The order specifies that the adjournment has been requested to “accommodate certain discovery issues that have arisen.” The Order is not specific as to what discovery issues have arisen but we can likely assume that either discovery was limited by an uncontrollable factor, or, that the amount of discovery materials provided was too large to process before the expedited hearing date.
Additionally, the Court granted a request to extend the de facto “injunction” that allowed the plaintiffs to sell all product they had as of December 31, 2018 free of the Optum VAWD requirement until the hearing on April 11, 2019. As such, the plaintiffs will essentially remain in the same position that they were prior to the previous hearing date for an additional month and a half. At this point, the only thing for observers to do is wait until the hearing in April to see the outcome regarding an injunction going forward.
Industry Reacts
We have received quite a bit of anecdotal information from wholesalers across the country.
Sales are Mixed for Wholesalers
Pharmacy reaction to wholesalers have been mixed – it has been reported (anecdotally) that sales results from January ranged from being down 15% to being up over 20% YoY with an increase in total number of customers served.
However, there has also been an increase of PBM audits. If Optum Rx does decide to enforce their VAWD requirement, pharmacies would likely be subject to action for purchasing that occurred after the December 31, 2018 cutoff date.
Mergers & Acquisitions
In anticipation of the requirement, many wholesalers led a defensive merger/acquisition strategy.
Keysource Medical, a VAWD® Accredited wholesaler, recently acquired PraxisMed.
Earlier this year, Cochran Wholesale, a VAWD® Accredited wholesaler, was acquired by Trive Capital. As a result of the transaction, Redmond & Greer and Cochran Wholesale are now affiliated companies but operate independently.*
More as it breaks!

 

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