Magazine article Drug Topics

Choice Year for Freedom Laws

Magazine article Drug Topics

Choice Year for Freedom Laws

Article excerpt

It's been a banner year for pharmacy freedom-of-choice/any-willing-provider efforts in state legislatures. Delaware, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Virginia all have passed laws aimed at blocking closed networks. In several states, the votes were unanimous--but that didn't mean they went through without a fight. There were no dissenting votes in Mississippi, for example, despite opposition from Merck-Medco, AARP, and the AFL-CIO, according to the Mississippi Pharmacists Association. MPhA also saw enactment of revisions in the Pharmacy Practice Act, which it championed, marking the first time in several years that it got anything through the legislature and signed by the governor.

More network news: Indiana pharmacists are continuing to protest the closed pharmacy network set up for state employee Rx benefits. The state saw Rx costs increase 70% in two years, but hasn't analyzed the cause. Meanwhile, in next-door Illinois, Gov. Jim Edgar has proposed a Medicaid reform plan that would feature networks but with an any-willing-provider feature. The Illinois Pharmacists Association has suggested that providers must be willing to accept quality standards of pharmaceutical care as well as the reimbursement offered.

The job mart: The pharmacist associations in Alabama, Arkansas, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Washington State have all formed search committees to find new executive directors. They all prefer a pharmacist for the position, and previous association management experience would be helpful. …

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