How Evil Is Medco?

I received a call from Medco, the gigantic prescription drug benefit company. The woman on the other line said she was a pharmacist, and she wanted to review my medications. My ire over the state of healthcare in this country and the ridiculous state of the national debate took over, and I shot back, “I’ve got a major kidney disease, and I’ve got lots of medications that I need to be on, and I’m not going to discuss them with you”. And I hung up.

I found this article online discussing how Medco implemented a “prescription review system” a couple of years ago. The article touts the system as a very beneficial innovation, given that so many patients are harmed each year by medication errors and unintended drug interactions.

Computers flag incoming prescriptions for patients with those conditions – such as diabetes, cancer and infectious diseases – for a specialty pharmacist to review them if necessary. The pharmacists look for dosing errors, interactions with other drugs, whether the patient isn’t refilling prescriptions as directed, or if a new medication would be better.

I have a completely different take, which is that Medco should leave me the hell alone. Given that their bottom-line depends how much money they can save, they are the last people I want to consult about my medications. If I really want to talk to a pharmacist, there are a couple of good ones over at Costco. (Ironic, I know, since both Medco and Costco have similarly evil-sounding names. But I trust Costco).

So I’m thinking that Medco is evil. Am I wrong?

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2 thoughts on “How Evil Is Medco?

  1. It seems to me that HIPAA compliance is enforced in all the wrong places. As a pharm benefit company, MedCo is automatically granted access to your info without your having to sign consent, which makes sense, but why they have the right to contact you regarding those prescriptions is beyond me. My response would be along the lines of, “Dude. I’m not a professional. I trust that my physicians are prescribing the right things and that my local pharmacist is checking for interactions. You have questions or problems, take it up with them.” It’s kind of like when agencies try to bypass an attorney to speak directly with a client; there are reasons the professional is involved and one of those is so you don’t get caught up in phone calls like this. I think it’s sneaky and underhanded. I mean, sure, you have a brain and could certainly handle a conversation with MedCo… but think of all the people who are easily intimidated and can’t. 😦 What is their end-goal, anyway? …to reduce or revise scripts? The whole thing’s a mess.

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