AIDS Healthcare Foundation calls UnitedHealthcare, OptumRx fees 'unethical' in protest

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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation organized a protest Oct. 26 at UnitedHealthcare's Minnetonka, Minn., headquarters over what it called "unethical" costs. 

The protest was organized to criticize UnitedHealthcare and pharmacy benefit manager OptumRx's alleged practice of "unethically charging arbitrary penalties and fees to independent and specialty pharmacies providing the lifesaving medicines to those living with HIV and other critical illnesses," according to an Oct. 26 announcement.

"How much money does United Healthcare really need?" said Tracy Jones, national director for grassroots mobilization initiatives for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "It is repulsive how they continue to put profit over people. Their actions are robbing the specialty and independent pharmacies that many patients depend on and handicapping them from providing the life-saving medicines they need."

A UnitedHealth Group spokesperson told Becker's that the company has a history of helping people living with HIV and AIDS, describing UnitedHealth's reimbursements as "consistent with fair, competitive market rates." 

"While this protest seems to be timed to coincide with a negotiating session this week, we will, consistent with our decades-long commitment to the HIV and AIDS community, continue to work with partners across the health system — including AHF — to provide people with safe, convenient and lower-cost medications," the spokesperson told Becker's

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