News roundup – PBMs, mine safety, pandemics, vacations, and IED

June 12th, 2006 by Julie Ferguson

PBMs – By declining to review an Appeals decision, Maine’s Supreme Court let a decision affirming a law that regulates Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) stand. The PBM industry’s lobbying group had been challenging a law that requires disclosure of rebates, conflicts of interest and discounts from drug manufacturers. The law is an attempt to create more transparency for consumers and to ensure that discounts are passed on to payers (employers) rather than being retained by the PBM as is current practice. The District of Columbia has a similar law that is in litigation.
Safety resources – OSHA has a variety of free resources on summer safety issues, including a series of QuickCards on seasonal topics, available in both English and Spanish. And from across the pond, Britain’s Health & Safety Commission publishes a variety of employer case studies on the business benefits of health & safety.
Flu Pandemic – Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) is hosting a Virtual Symposium on June 19-23 on preparing for a local flu pandemic. This is one of a series of free online seminars that are open to the public. Here’s a list of past topics.
Mine Safety – Commenting on the recent overhaul of mine safety rules that Congress approved last week, Jordan Barab wryly notes that our values are a bit skewed. The maximum civil penalty for violations of mine-safety regulations that could result in deaths? $220,000, up from $60,000. The maximum penalty for a “wardrobe malfunction” or other matter deemed indecent on the air by the FCC? $325,000, up from $32,500.
Euphemism of the week – In case you missed it, last week’s news was that road rage has been repackaged as intermittent explosive disorder in a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. According to the study, IED may affect as many as 7 percent of American adults who have a tendency to ” … overreact to certain situations with uncontrollable rage, experience a sense of relief during the angry outburst, and then feel remorse about their actions.”
Vacation deprivation – are your employees turning surly lately? Well, first check to see if they have IED, and if not, it may simply be because they are feeling deprived. A recent study shows that not only do American workers have fewer total vacation days than their European counterparts, they also aren’t using all the time they have, leaving an average of 4 days on the table last year. Here’s how vacation time stacks up: U.S – 14 days; Australia – 17; Canada – 19; Great Britain – 24; Germany – 27; and France – 39. More info.