Now that Wal-Mart is pushing their home delivery direct-to-consumers via TV commercials and the web, will that have an impact on the market?
I could see a few possible reactions. The simple one would be that their investment simply proves to validate the mail pharmacy option (if that’s needed) and build more awareness of this as an option.
Another response could be that one of the big PBMs (Medco, CVS Caremark, Express Scripts) decides to compete in this “cash” or DTC market and tries to sell directly to consumers. That has lots of implications.
Like the $4 generics, it’s still limited to a small set of generic drugs that you get for $10 thru mail. But, will that drive volume? Are consumers “fooled” by the simplicity of the message or are they frustrated when they realize that their drugs aren’t $10?
Will safety groups or payors get involved to minimize to issues of having these scripts process outside the benefit and therefore not be in the member record for DUR (drug utilization review) – aka looking for drug-drug interactions?
Will PBMs change their contracts with retailers to strictly prohibit them from providing mail order DTC?
Will other retailers follow suit?