Magazine article Drug Topics

Saving Seniors

Magazine article Drug Topics

Saving Seniors

Article excerpt

Independents weigh plan to let pharmacies buy low-cost Rxs for Medicare patients

Independent pharmacy owners are being courted over legislation designed to give senior citizens a price break on their prescriptions. So far, the National Community Pharmacists Association is neutral on the bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Allen of Maine and 66 other House Democrats. It would allow participating pharmacies to buy Rxs for Medicare beneficiaries with no drug insurance at the lowest prices now available to a federal agency or to Medicaid.

Speaking at NCPA's annual legislative conference last month, Alan Holmer, president of the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, urged NCPA to oppose the measure. He stressed his friendship with NCPA executive v.p. Calvin Anthony and sought to downplay what looked like a PhRMA effort to suggest that pharmacies would not pass on the acquisition savings, which the bill's supporters expect would average 40% or more.

"Think of the regulatory nightmare of maintaining two sets of inventory, one for Medicare beneficiaries and another for everybody else," he said. "And if price controls are imposed on manufacturers, do you really think that price controls for pharmacy are not far behind?" Holmer also was asked about a PhRMA survey of pharmacies in the Washington, D.C., area that found price differences of more than 100% for branded drugs and 569% for generics. "Neither pharmacy, nor PhRMA, nor patients benefit from undue focus on costs or prices of prescription drugs," he said. "The real issue ... should be with respect to pharmaceutical coverage for patients and the extraordinary value these products provide."

Among the other speakers who addressed the 31st annual legislative conference, Sen. Ron Wyden (D, Ore.) appealed to community pharmacists to enlist in his crusade "to conquer pain on our watch." Wyden said he would introduce legislation soon that would make the latest state-of-the-art information on pain management available around the clock to give providers the tools necessary to ease needless suffering. His plan grew out of efforts in Congress last year to thwart his state's assistedsuicide law by allowing the Drug Enforcement Administration to revoke a pharmacy's federal permit if the pharmacy knowingly dispensed an Rx used in a suicide or euthanasia. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.