Nonunion prescription benefit change rankles Philly Council members

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 In this June 20, 2011 photo, the logo for a CVS store is displayed in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

In this June 20, 2011 photo, the logo for a CVS store is displayed in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Philadelphia city employees who are not represented by a union will soon have to pay extra if they fill their prescriptions at a pharmacy that selling cigarettes.

City Council members are not happy with the policy that assesses a $15 fee, in addition to any co-pay, on such prescriptions.

Steering prescriptions to pharmacies that have banned tobacco sales is not good for workers or retirees, said Philadelphia Councilwoman Marian Tasco.

“Looking at this, you may be penny-wise and dollar-foolish,” she said. “You are not thinking about the worker, you are not thinking about the people who access this.”

Councilman Ed Neilson told the city’s human resources director he’s upset about the change. Many city workers don’t understand the policy, he said.

“There’s 5,400 people, and you just jammed it down their throats,” he said. “That’s not how we roll anything out here, and there’s no respect about it.”

The city expects to save $600,000 a year by narrowing its network of pharmacies.

Beginning Jan. 1, the city also plans to charge an additional $500 each year to provide health benefits for any nonunion worker who smokes or uses tobacco products.

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