Covid-19 Pill Access at Risk as Pharmacies Push for Bigger Payments
The rollout of new Covid-19 pills has exposed a potentially costly hole in how the government and healthcare companies are managing the pandemic drug response. Pharmacies that dispense the pills are pushing back and some are threatening to halt supplies if they don’t get more funds to cover the gap. The government paid billions of dollars for the pills, Paxlovid from Pfizer Inc. and molnupiravir from Merck & Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP. Yet it left the details of how much pharmacists should be paid for filling prescriptions to health insurers and prescription-processing middlemen known as pharmacy-benefit managers. The commercial firms are paying pharmacies as low as a penny to about $10 for filling each prescription, according to pharmacists and pharmacy-transaction records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
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