STAT+: Advocacy groups outraged after PBM offers a $500 gift card to persuade patients to switch drugs

Dozens of patient advocacy groups are angry over an unusual move by a pharmacy benefits manager that recently began offering $500 debit cards to people who agree to switch psoriasis medicines after it removed a widely used drug from several of its formularies.

At issue is a decision by Express Scripts to offer the debit cards as an incentive to psoriasis patients to try alternatives to a Novartis (NVS) treatment called Cosenytx. The pharmacy benefits manager did so after excluding Cosentyx from four different formularies, which are lists of medicines for which insurance coverage is favored over other treatments.

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