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A Conversation with RxPreferred's Jeff Malone

Pharmacy Podcast Network Interviews President and CEO of RxPreferred Benefits

RxPreferred Benefits’ President and CEO, Jeff Malone, joined Pharmacy Podcast host, Todd S. Eury on Episode 95 of the Pharmacy Podcast to discuss pharmacy benefits management, 340b program administration, and how RxPreferred Benefits is changing how organizations view PBM partnerships.

Released in 2013, the podcast covers a variety of PBM-related topics, including 340B administration, hospice PBM, and how RxPreferred Benefits works with independent pharmacies to develop customized programs that work for their needs.

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Intro: You are listening to the pharmacy podcast show, the leading word in pharmacy and you can find all of our episodes at www.pharmacypodcast.com.

Malone: This is Jeff Malone, President and CEO of RxPreferred Benefits. And you’re listening to the Pharmacy Podcast.

Eury: Hey, pharmacy community. This is Todd Eury,  your host to the pharmacy podcast. Hey, we have a show today I’ve been looking forward to. We know about an organization that has come about, become a more powerful ally in the world of independent and community pharmacy. Not only that, but it’s become a bigger ally to communities in general, with regards to the world of pharmacy benefit management. And we have RxPreferred Benefits on the show with us today.

And this is Mr. Jeff Malone, President and CEO of RxPreferred Benefits. How are you doing today, Jeff.

Malone: Doing well, Todd. Thanks for having us on.

Eury: You’re welcome. So, you and I met back in the day I was in the long-term care pharmacy software space. You were in the data analytics end of things and grew some other ideas and evolution of our own careers, but more so evolution of our industry and, when the industry changes and, and things happen, opportunities are created and the opportunity that was created, by some of, your brain power and experience was the concept of a transparent PBM and someone to actually come alongside of independent pharmacy and help them to, get some of that market share back that sometimes they lose for a multitude of different reasons.

And, we’ll definitely go into that, but give the listeners who is RxPreferred Benefits, why you guys came into existence and what your mission is.

Malone: Yeah. So RxPreferred is a fully transparent PBM that also offers 340B administration as well as a hospice pharmacy PBM. RxPreferred is a hundred percent owned and operated by independent pharmacy representatives. Our ownership makeup is one of three different individuals. You have to be either an independent pharmacy owner, an independent pharmacist, or strictly tied to the good of independent pharmacy. And we have been very restrictive on how we have structured our organization, in order to fulfill our mission, to help independents drive more business to their pharmacies.

We initially got our start when independent pharmacies approached us and said, Hey, you know, we’re tired of losing business, or we’re tired of seeing spread pricing and all the other nuances and tribulations that the normal PBM industry has affected independent pharmacy.

So our mission is to co-approach employers with the independent pharmacies in their communities to help drive more business to the independent pharmacy, whether that’s with our PBM solution, our 340B administration, or our hospice pharmacy benefits management, and by doing so, you know, we’re keeping that money locally in the economy. We’re helping individuals in those economies being more able to afford drugs via the 340B programs, et cetera. And we offer both a proactive and reactive approach, meaning, you know, pharmacy owners that have engaged us saying, Hey, XYZ employee is that I have just got wind that they’re moving their business to mail order. I don’t want to lose that. How can you guys help? They’ll bring us in and actually have us run analysis and present the employer with our true savings and transparent model.

Eury: So, Jeff, at the beginning, you mentioned, a couple of different services, obviously PBM, the pharmacy benefit management offering. It’s like you had stated transparent. You mentioned 340B management and administration, and Hospice. And then of course, you know, you guys also have a savings card, which we can talk about, but let’s go back. We all understand if you’re in the pharmacy industry. Well, it’s taken me quite some time to understand, but what a pharmacy benefit management company does. You know, someone huge, like an Express Scripts or CVS Caremark back in the day.

But let’s talk about that next one, that 340B solution where you are helping, you know, hospitals, health care centers and pharmacies basically grow by all coming together, under the umbrella of what 340B is. And once again, you have that transparency, you have the real-time management tools, you have the automated drug replenishment with the selected wholesaler, which is incredible. Just expand upon that a little bit for our listeners to let them know what facet and what piece of our RxPreferred Benefits tools that is.

Malone: Yeah. So the 340B administration is a real hot button for us right now with a community pharmacy, or basically the community pharmacies are bringing us into opportunities within their communities to work with health systems or a SQHC in their areas that want to implement or already have an existing 340B program. The real niche that we offer Todd with our 340B solution is we offer a turnkey solution if the, to the, hospital or, or health center has not been through HERSA in order to get qualified, we will facilitate all the paperwork contracting and so forth, and actually take the hospital or health system all the way through the HERSA process. Get them approved. Same goes for the independent pharmacy. If, the independent has not been through the OPA process, we facilitate all the paperwork and registration process for them.

Our second biggest feature is our, is our safeguards. We require all scripts be adjudicated to us prior to the stance versus, to two other main, competing 340B. Administrators actually require that they go back and purchase that data after the fact from either the pharmacy system vendor or from the switch. The problem then arises that they may have potentially issued a script to a non 340B eligible patient, which results in additional legwork for the pharmacy, both with regards to reversing and revealing that, as well as there then paid only dispense fee. And it results in additional paperwork. With our solution, again by requiring this be adjudicated prior to the spins, we’re putting all those safeguards in place to protect the pharmacy.

The biggest reason why independence engage us with 340B in their areas. They’re tired of, other administrators coming in and, and negotiating, lower than dispensing fees or preferential disbelief, dispensing fees at chains. RxPreferred actually comes in and works with both the independents and the covered entity in their area to make this a win-win for all involved. We don’t come in and dictate this bin space. We come in and customize and, by bringing us into the loop, they are ensuring that the other 340B administrators who have relationships and ties with chain pharmacy are not getting preferential treatment by driving those scripts to the chain pharmacy. So again, we’re keeping all that tax money local in their area.

Eury: That’s great. So, if a pharmacy owner wants to get into 340B, but it can be a cloogy and confusing sometimes even how to even get registered correctly. So, RxPreferred Benefits, you’re helping out with that process too.

Malone: We absolutely are. We gather all the necessary information from the pharmacy owner, as well as all the necessary contracts with the entity. We register the entity and the pharmacy, both through HERSA as well as the OPA process.

Eury: Okay. So I’m a pharmacy owner and I’m listening to the show and you’ve mentioned, obviously the PBM 340B, talk to our listeners about the hospice world and, and how you differentiate as a pharmacy benefit provider.

Malone: Yeah. So most independents today actually do a manual process with any hospice they may work with in their area. And the challenge is, administration, as well as streamlining of the relationship with the hospice patients, as well as all the necessary reporting that’s required.

So we automate all functions of that particular aspect. We will customize a formulary based on pricing from the independent pharmacy and the hospice. We provide a real-time web interface that allows the hospice to enter in the patient information and make them live in the system or terminate them as well as provide all the reporting necessary from both the pharmacy and the hospice perspective. So we automate the whole paper trail as it exists today in the hospice environment.

Eury: And, one of my favorite things that you’ve come out with, which is a newer, system, is this savings card. And what I like about this, Jeff, what little I know about it is it’s a community pharmacy, independent pharmacy focused, savings card. So, sometimes you’ll hear the word savings card and everybody wants to cringe because it’s extra paperwork or administration, or sometimes it’s not even in the favor of the pharmacy owner. So definitely go through, the savings card program.

Malone: Yeah, absolutely. And I can tell you that obviously being a hundred percent owned and operated by an independent pharmacy, obviously any sorts of reimbursements are near and dear to our hearts as well. So we absolutely have considered all of those factors with development of our savings cards. Our cards can not only function as a savings cards externally, whatever independent pharmacy would like to implement these cards, they can also be a loyalty card within that pharmacy.

So basically with our programs, no matter if it’s our savings card, our 340B program, our PBM initiative, any pharmacy that engages RxPreferred with an opportunity in their community, they are paid a portion of that script no matter where it’s filled. So if that, if that script is filled at the local independent, they’re obviously getting the majority of that reimbursement as well as a percentage. If that script happens, being built down the street at a chain pharmacy, they also get a portion of that script. Or if that employer has an employee on vacation in another city, they’re also getting a portion of that script. So again, being owned and operated by an independent pharmacy, these are, these are some of the things different way that we’ve tried to build into all of our products.

Eury: I liked that. I like the fact that it’s simplified, you have the tools, from a technology perspective to actually track them and kind of, peel down on even a claim in itself. And, some of the extra tools, hospice and the savings card, it all makes sense.

And I, I’ve always talking to some of my own customers and some of my own buying group members. I say, you know, you need to diversify your business. You need to get a little, you know, expand, obviously expanding your retail business, if you’re a retail pharmacy, but in the world of, layering what services you’re providing and even having information in your store to basically expose your customer base, who knows if, if you have a customer who’s a human resource manager, a small business owner, someone, that’s more politically involved in your community, even approaching your own, city, government, or county government, any, you’re, you’re part of the community, you’re a pharmacy owner for goodness sakes.

So you’re there, you know, letting them know that this service is in place and no, the big PBMs aren’t the only choice out there. There are things that can be done. And, you know, I think RxPreferred is positioned, uniquely.

Malone: We definitely helped the pharmacy owners look like heroes in their communities from a variety of different perspectives, whether it’s saving the employers and giving their employees access to better healthcare via the prescription benefit. If it’s giving the population in their towns, access to healthcare late in the normally couldn’t afford via of the 340B benefit. All of these metrics come into play. And this is again, one of the, one of the real reasons why RxPreferred one to form not only for the preservation of independent pharmacy, but also to bring access to better healthcare to the population in each of these pharmacies communities.

Eury: If you’re listening to the show and you’d like to, learn more or even, reach out and speak to Jeff himself, easily accessible at www.RxPreferred.com, and then they’re located, your headquarters is right there and, Mount Juliet, Tennessee.

What’s the phone number over there Jeff?

Malone: We’re right outside Nashville, Tennessee. The number is 888-666-7271. We also run monthly webinars on all of our products that as well as we’ll be more than happy to facilitate a Free PBM Analysis for any employer in their area or a free 340B revenue projection.

Eury: That’s excellent. Once again, that’s 888-666-7271. Jeff Malone with RxPreferred Benefits.

And if you’ve called Jeff and you’ve heard the show, please mention that you heard the pharmacy podcast. It always helps, Jeff to understand, where, his marketing efforts are going to, and it helps us as the show to help grow with listeners, pass this on to other pharmacy owners that, you know, pass this on to even, a human resource director or someone that owns a small business and let them know there’s another entity out there that can help them in the world of PBM, a pharmacy benefit management.

Hey, Jeff, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Malone: I really appreciate the opportunity.

Eury: Thank you. So we were on with Mr. Jeff Malone, President and CEO of RxPreferred Benefits, and you are listening to the pharmacy podcast and we appreciate it.

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