Pharms call out Gov. on prescription changes

    Governor Rendell says the changes he wants to make to the way the state reimburses pharmacies for drugs are “fair to them and fair to the commonwealth.”

    The head of a statewide pharmacists’ group says Governor Rendell’s proposed changes to Pennsylvania’s prescription benefit program aren’t as easy as he’s promising.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090604sdpharm.mp3]

    Governor Rendell says the changes he wants to make to the way the state reimburses pharmacies for drugs are “fair to them and fair to the commonwealth.”

    He wants to pay drug stores for the actual cost they shell out for drugs, rather than the “average wholesale price.”

    As a trade off, Rendell says the state will increase the amount it pays each time a pharmacy dispenses a prescription to a PACE or PACENET participant.

    But Pat Epple, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists’ Association, says stores buy drugs through a complicated and shifting formula, and Rendell’s reimbursement plan would put pharmacies in the red.

    Epple: If you look at the generic reimbursement prices, if he’s paying you below what it costs to buy the generic medication, that’s where we’re coming from-pharmacies would be losing money.

    Epple says the increase in dispensing payments-Rendell wants to up them from four to seven or twelve dollars per prescription-wouldn’t make up for the expected loss.

    She says she’s in favor of expanding PACE and PACENET, but doesn’t want to do it at the expense of pharmacy owners.

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