New pharmacy solution company tackles medication affordability for Highmark-, Independence-insured patients


An independent pharmacy solution startup funded by five Blue Cross Blue Shield plans is expected to improve medication affordability for patients across the state.

Pittsburgh-based Highmark Inc. and Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross announced on Tuesday that they are part of a group of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans funding Evio, a Denver-based startup meant to use data from its five founding plans to lessen the cost of drugs and improve clinical outcomes.

“Ourselves and our sister Blues, we understand that we need to continue to innovate and drive better value for our customers,” said Corey DeLuca, vice president of clinical and specialty pharmacy services at Highmark. “Each of our plans has done a great job to look at ways to improve health outcomes. We acknowledge that there is opportunity when you have a company like Evio to really complement some of the transformative work we are already doing independently and innovate.”

The five plans funding the venture are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Shield of California, Highmark and Independence Blue Cross. They account for over 20 million members across the country.

Using data from the five Blue plans, Evio plans to look at how each drug performs for patients, develop partnerships among pharmaceutical and other health care businesses and enhance outcomes-based contracting in the pharmacy space.

“Patient frustration with the system and disparities in health equity are higher than ever. And, the price of virtually every prescription drug is roughly double by the time a patient pays for it at the pharmacy counter than it was when the drug was shipped from its manufacturing site — without transparent benefits to the patient,” said Hank Schlissberg, Evio’s president and CEO.

The new venture is one of many programs that area Blue Cross Blue Shield plans have joined to limit the cost of medications. Last year, Highmark, Independence and Harrisburg-based Capital Blue Cross joined 15 other Blue organizations in founding nonprofit generic drug manufacturer Civica Rx.

“Evio builds upon our long-standing collaborations and innovative work with customers, health care providers and other important stakeholders in the prescription drug value chain to help members more easily access the medications they need, when and where they need them, at a cost they can afford,” said Gregory Deavens, Independence Blue Cross president and CEO.