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Patients Win Settlement with Anthem

KQED PUBLIC RADIO (SF, CA)

HIV/AIDS patients covered by Anthem Blue Cross insurance won a legal settlement today allowing them to get their medicines at a pharmacy rather than by mail.

Attorney Harvey Rosenfield of Consumer Watchdog said HIV /AIDS patients often need to consult with their pharmacists about their drug regimen. In addition, he said, receiving drugs through the mail can present privacy problems.

"You really don't want or need to have your roommate, your friends, your neighbors - or, if it's delivered to your work, your business collegues - aware that you're getting a package every month or every two weeks from a pharmacutical supplier," Rosenfield said. "It just raises questions that automatically infringe people's privacy."

Rosenfield said other insurance companies in the state with similar mail-order drug requirements ought to be on notice to check their policies.

"If I were those other companies I would be very carefully reading the settlement and rectifying  the problems that we identified in that lawsuit," he said, "because otherwise Consumer Watchdog is going to come knocking at their door."