18:00 PM

RX Ohio Collaborative allows Ohio public employers to save money on prescription drug costs

The Ohio State University Managed Health Care Systems, Inc. announced today that the Rx Ohio Collaborative (RxOC) prescription drug benefit program is now available to all Ohio public sector institutions, including government, school district and higher education employers.

The RxOC provides an infrastructure under which Ohio public sector employers and their employees can save money on prescription drug costs through pooled purchasing. This concept evolved from a collaborative purchasing initiative by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, School Employees Retirement System of Ohio, State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio and Ohio State, which collectively serve more than 400,000 Ohioans. Today, nearly a dozen are affiliated with the collaborative, including Ohio University, the State Highway Patrol Retirement System and Wright State University.

"This program is a great example of Ohio State leveraging its size, power, and innovative business practices for the benefit of others throughout Ohio," said University President E. Gordon Gee. "By extending participation more broadly, the collaboration will help to further reduce expenses for the state and make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and families."

Given today's economy, now more than ever employers need to unite, said Scott Streator, R.Ph., CEO and executive director of OSU Managed Health Care Systems. "The RxOC provides Ohio public sector employers an opportunity to join together to save money on drug costs while maintaining full control over their benefits and health plan architecture," he said.

Through the RxOC and its chosen pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts Inc., public sector employers of any size can obtain the same drug pricing as some of the largest public entities in Ohio, as well as obtain 100 percent of the rebates from pharmaceutical companies.

"Significant savings will be realized through our collective purchasing volume in addition to our collective intelligence using Ohio clinical, academic and business infrastructure," Streator added. "As more organizations participate in the RxOC, the more savings we can realize."

Ohio State, with 50,000 benefits-enrolled employees and dependents, saved $3.55 million – or 9 percent of its $38 million pharmacy expenditure – in 2008. Ohio University is projected to save $618,000, or 8.2 percent of its $7.6 million in plan drug costs, and Wright State projects it will save more than $300,000, or about 9 percent of its $3.3 million annual pharmacy expenditure, thanks to the RxOC.

Chris DeRose, CEO of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, said his organization spends more than $1 billion on retiree health care coverage every year, an amount that will continue to grow. "Participation in the RxOC allows us to better manage pharmaceutical costs, a large component of our health care spending," he said.

Sandy Knoesel, deputy executive director/member benefits at STRS Ohio, said the pricing being offered to all public entities in the State of Ohio may have a favorable impact on the state's bottom line. "The four institutions involved in the initial effort are on track to save $300 million -- the amount the RxOC pricing originally projected to save by 2011," she said.

"This collaboration presents an excellent opportunity to reduce costs and increase efficiencies across the University System of Ohio. I appreciate The Ohio State University, Wright State, and Ohio University leading the way on this within the System," said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut. "It's good for the whole state when our colleges and universities work together to increase productivity, lower costs, and impact State of Ohio efficiency targets. I encourage all of them to consider the Rx Ohio Collaborative drug benefit program when examining their individual spending practices."

Future development of the RxOC may include services to help organizations – and their employees – navigate and maximize their pharmacy benefits.
About the Rx Ohio Collaborative (RxOC) The Rx Ohio Collaborative (RxOC) is an expanding prescription drug benefit initiative for Ohio public sector employers to save money on prescription drug costs through pooled purchasing. Since 2007, the RxOC has engaged a number of public sector entities — including four of the state's largest prescription drug purchasers — in a pharmaceutical benefit program serving more than 450,000 Ohioans. It is housed at OSU Managed Health Care Systems, Inc. For more information, view the Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) available at http://www.rxoc.org/newsroom.htm or call (800) 678-6559.
About OSU Managed Health Care Systems, Inc. Incorporated in 1991, OSU Managed Health Care Systems, Inc. manages the health care benefit plans for The Ohio State University and other groups using innovative, quality and economically efficient programs designed to realize the outcome of better health. The organization strives to provide the best health care options and wellness services to its members at the lowest possible cost to employees. For more information, visit http://www.osumhcs.com/.

Editors note: additional fact sheet and FAQs available at www.rxoc.org