Drug formularies are touted as a way to fight prescription drug abuse and contain prescription drug cost. But one major Nebraska employer appears to be questioning whether drug formularies really contain prescription costs.
The City of Omaha was echoing widespread concerns about the possibility of conflict of interests in drug formularies. Those concerns were explained by me in a blog post published last December. In short, drug formularies are administered by pharmacy benefit managers. Pharmacy benefit managers make money by negotiating discounts from drug manufacturers. This gives pharmacy benefit managers incentive to put more expensive drugs on drug formularies because they can negotiate a more lucrative discount than they could for a less expensive generic drug.
LB 408 was held in committee by the Business and Labor committee so it is unlikely it will be considered in this legislative session. Opioids abuse is a topic of high interest for political leaders so drug formularies as a way to reduce opioid use will likely be discussed further in Nebraska.
The City of Omaha has a workforce this is more heavily unionized than most other workplaces in Nebraska. In some instances, labor and management will collectively bargain how some aspects of a workers’ compensation program is to be administered. Supporters of organized labor originated the idea of “labor pluralism” during the New Deal and Post-War era. (4) Labor pluralism means that government should minimize interference between the labor-management relationship. In a unionized workplace, labor and management have a complicated relationship that is both cooperative and confrontational depending on the circumstances. A mandate from the state requiring the use of drug formularies could be as undermining labor-management relations when a labor and management have bargained about the administration of workers’ compensation benefits.
Last week, Rehm, Bennett & Moore owner Rod Rehm was featured on America’s Truckin’ Network, which is an overnight show that runs on both Sirius/XM channel 166 and 700 WLW-AM out of Cincinnati. Mr. Rehm and show host Mr. Steve Sommers discussed some of the nuances of workers’ compensation law when it comes to drivers, specifically focusing on issues like the special challenges truck drivers have in taking prescription drugs if they’re hurt. The requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (USDOT FMCSA) rules and regulations make this topic more complicated for truckers.
During that time, the two also took truckers’ calls and discussed topics that included details about workers’ compensation injuries; when to get an attorney involved; the overuse of opiates in the legal world; and more about work injury and drug interactions/intoxication. Mr. Rehm elaborates on this information, providing more details in the podcasts linked to below.
America’s Truckin’ Network runs from 11 p.m. through 4 a.m. (midnight to 5 a.m. Eastern Time) on 700 WLW-AM, and we greatly appreciate the chance to help educate truckers about workers’ compensation matters. For questions about a specific injury or workers’ compensation claim, please contact an attorney. Mr. Rehm has represented truckers for over 30 years, 15 of which have been through the website www.truckerlawyers.com.