Magazine article Drug Topics

Mail Order Cutting Deeply into Retail Pharmacy, GAO Says

Magazine article Drug Topics

Mail Order Cutting Deeply into Retail Pharmacy, GAO Says

Article excerpt

A program change that emphasizes mail order for retired federal workers cost community pharmacies $95 million in lost Rx business in its first five months, according to a GAO report. The decline in payments amounted to 36% when January-May 1996 figures were compared with the corresponding period in 1995. "The shift has been substantial," GAO said. Sen. David Pryor (D, Ark.), who along with Sen. William Cohen (R, Maine) requested the report, observed that "shifting costs onto the backs of retail pharmacies is taking a heavy toll."

About 800,000 people were affected by a Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association decision to add a 20% co-pay for use of PCS network pharmacies and 40% for others, while keeping the no co-pay policy for Rxs filled through the Medco mailorder plan. Blue Cross has a contract with the Office of Personnel Management to operate the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for retirees also enrolled in Medicare Part B.

John A. …

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