January 3, 2013
Anthem Blue Cross is specifying that patients they insure who need HIV medications must switch their prescriptions to a specially designated mail-order pharmacy by March 1. According to company spokesman Darrell Ng, Anthem originally sent letters to patients that indicated a January 1 switchover deadline, but the company pushed back the deadline by two months after receiving requests from state regulators and advocacy groups. This change will affect approximately 8,000 of Anthem's 8 million California customers. Specialty pharmacies are lobbying against the mail-order requirement for HIV drugs, claiming it may result in delivery delays of daily medications. Ng notes that the switch to mail order is focused on saving money while continuing to deliver life-saving medications to the patients who need them.