Do Drug-Purchasing Rules Lag Behind Health-System Growth?

Article excerpt

Just as health systems are striving to provide continuity of care, they are also negotiating for continuity of pricing. Unfortunately, like continuity of care, uniform drug prices across the continuum-from a hospital to a surgery center to a clinic-are more a goal than reality at present.

That's one conclusion that can be drawn from a session on pharmaceutical purchasing held at the recent ASHP annual meeting in Baltimore.

According to Anthony Corigliano, director of pharmacy, material services, and several other areas at the St. Joseph Hospital Health Center Network, Syracuse, N.Y., 54 manufacturers are granting uniform pricing to his network. Most of these are small companies. Three major manufacturers out of St. Joseph's AmeriNet portfolio won't extend one price to his network. This has left his health system "stymied" as far as developing a formulary consistent with patient needs and practitioner desires, he said.

What are manufacturers' concerns? Corigliano said health systems must prove to manufacturers that:

they are not reselling drugs

a signed own-use agreement is on file

there is the same ship-to and bill-to address

they own DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) numbers

drug firms can inspect their facilities

Corigliano lamented that existing laws governing drug purchasing have not kept pace with health-system reengineering, which has made the continuum of care ever wider. He added that the legal environment has to change before there is real cost-containment in drug purchasing. Echoing his concerns is Robert Currey, corporate director of pharmacy at OSF Health Care, Peoria, Ill. …