Attending the Physician Dispensing Summit

14 Feb, 2013 Bob Wilson


I am very much looking forward to attending an upcoming “Physician Dispensing Summit”, to be held at a secure, undisclosed location on February 25th and 26th.

Ok, it is actually being held just prior to the WCRI conference in Boston, but I like the mystery that my introduction affords.

Now, contrary to what the title might convey, this is not an educational event designed to entice physicians into the lucrative world of dispensing pharmaceuticals. If that were the case, it would be called “Physician Dispensing for Fun and Extraordinary Profit”, or “Hoist Your Bottom Line through Magical Medicinal Markup”, or more simply, “Repackage. Reprice. Rejoice.” No, this invitation only event is to help educate the various stakeholders who are dealing with the very real challenges presented to employers, carriers and injured workers involving the practices and pricing abuses of physician dispensing.  

Sponsored by PMSI, Progressive Medical and Health Strategy Associates, this summit is designed to help coordinate and clarify all of the various elements involved in physician dispensing in order to provide a comprehensive understanding for all concerned participants trying to get a handle on this problem. I spoke with Joe Paduda, Principal at Health Strategy Associates about the purpose and intent of this effort. People who read Paduda's blog know that he is a quiet, reserved man, hesitant to offend and reticent to openly share his opinion on important topics. Fortunately for all of us, he seems to have overcome these limitations on this topic. Paduda told me that much of the energy for this summit came from the challenges created by a plethora of legal language and confusing standards that stakeholders must wade through on this particular topic. He cited Federal laws and regulatory bodies such as the FDA, as well as a multitude of jurisdictional variances that make it more difficult to understand, challenge and correct this issue.

Paduda noted that several jurisdictions made good progress last year in controlling the huge price markups that prescription re-packagers and their physician partners can apply to their products. However, this will only serve to intensify the battle in other states, such as here in Florida, where lost profit from those jurisdictions will need to be replaced. In fact, I will have an article available shortly on the pathetic actions our legislature is currently considering on this topic. Suffice it to say that its working title is “Bend Over Florida – Your Legislature and Physician Dispensing”. Drug repackaging and repricing through physician dispensing is estimated to currently cost Florida employers between $25 million to $65 million a year. If you are not angry over this, you are either not paying attention, or you are profiting from it.

This is a big problem, and I think this summit is a perfect approach. We need a clear, consistent understanding of the issue from which a coordinated effort may be made to correct it. I look forward to attending and reporting back on what I learn.

After all, to get me to Boston – I mean an undisclosed location - in February, it has to be something special.

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