Magazine article Drug Topics

Local Action Reverses Mail-Only Program

Magazine article Drug Topics

Local Action Reverses Mail-Only Program

Article excerpt

A dozen pharmacy owners in Orange County, Calif., have convinced a local school district to reverse its decision to switch to a mandatory mail-order plan for maintenance medications. With help from wholesalers and benefit administrators, the pharmacists showed the Orange Unified School District that a mail-order plan it had adopted was a major money loser.

"The response of the school district was very positive," said Scott Parker, owner of Watson Drug in the City of Orange. "They told us that if they had recognized the potential impact of mail order on the community, they would never have made the change."

In late 1993, the school district revamped its health-care program. Run by Pharmaceutical Care Network, the program is administered by a trust, with representatives from teachers' groups and the district. Beneficiaries include about 1,500 active school district employees and their families, plus another 300 retirees and their families.

"The trust continually looks for ways to save money," explained Jack Elsner, district human resources administrator and one of two district trustees. "If there's a more economical way to provide benefits, we're all for it." When an outside broker presented a mandatory mail-order plan for maintenance meds that seemed to cut costs, the trust took it.

"We didn't know it had happened until we put a batch of Rxs through," said Jim Brodsky, owner of Villa Park Pharmacy in Villa Park. "They all got kicked back."

Local pharmacy owners complained to the school district, to no avail. …

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