What We're Reading: Preferred Pharmacies; Opioid Lawsuits; and Zika's Heart Impact

Directing Patients to Preferred Pharmacies

Blue Cross Blue Shield of California has proposed steering patients to preferred pharmacies through a tiered pharmacy network. Through the proposal, consumers would have to pick a preferred pharmacy and going to an out-of-network pharmacy could result in patients paying up to $50 more for the same prescription, reported Kaiser Health News. Blue Shield of California says the move will stabilize increasing costs of drugs, but patient advocates and pharmacists say the plan could confuse patients.

Opioid Crisis Opens Up New Legal Front

Lawsuits targeting drug distributors are seeking billions of dollars to pay for the effects of the opioid epidemic. Attorneys in West Virginia have filed the first lawsuits, but attorneys general in other states are considering similar actions, according to The Washington Post. The West Virginia lawsuits name McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, Walgreens, CVS, and more. Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen recently settled lawsuits related to consumer protections with the West Virginia attorney general’s office.

Zika Linked to Heart Problems

Researchers now suspect that the Zika virus can affect the heart, too. According to The Wall Street Journal, 9 patients reported cardiac symptoms 2 weeks or less after developing signs of Zika. The cardiac symptoms varied from heart palpitations to heart failure. More research will need to be done to confirm the findings of this small study.