(WVUE) - Scripps Howard Awards recognize excellence in journalism
TV/Cable In-Depth Local Coverage, Jack R. Howard Award — "Medical Waste" — WVUE-TV New Orleans, Lee Zurik, Jon Turnipseed, Tom Wright and Greg Phillips
As WVUE began looking into the rising costs of prescription drugs, a pharmacist's insights revealed insurance companies' secretive practices of charging patients more for prescription drugs – and then pocketing the difference. The practice, known as "clawbacks," often caused consumers to pay more for prescription medications when using insurance than if they had purchased it outright. Contractually, insurance companies had forbidden pharmacists from telling customers they could save money by not using their insurance. The story led to 11 lawsuits and to legislation empowering pharmacists to tell customers they could save money by not using their co-pay. United Healthcare, one of the nation's largest drug insurers and the main target of this investigation, announced it would stop the practice of overcharging customers.