Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacists Tell Hill Staffers the Facts on Prescriptions

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacists Tell Hill Staffers the Facts on Prescriptions

Article excerpt

It's one thing for an independent pharmacy to lose a longtime customer to a health maintenance organization. But it's another when the customer returns with a prescription that she paid $29 for at the HMO when you've been charging her $49--just 10% above your acquisition cost--and you get accused of being a crook.

Calvin Anthony, owner of Tiger Drug Co. in Stillwater, Okla., shared that frustrating experience recently with a group of Congressional staffers who wanted to get a pharmacist-level view of Rx pricing.

Participating in the session with Anthony, president-elect of NARD, were Shirley McKee, a pharmacy zone coordinator for the Kroger Co. in Houston and a trustee-elect of the American Pharmaceutical Association, and Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, a pharmacist and economist who directs the PRIME Institute at the University of Minnesota School of Pharmacy. The hour-long seminar was sponsored by Sen. David Pryor (D, Ark.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging.

Schondelmeyer provided a grim overview of pharmacy economics for the past two decades: average Rx prices up by 51%, while the pharmacist's net profit/Rx fell 36%. How can a pharmacy survive those numbers? "We all work a little longer, work a little harder, and receive a little less," Anthony said. …

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