Magazine article Drug Topics

'Any-Willing' State Allows Exclusive Network

Magazine article Drug Topics

'Any-Willing' State Allows Exclusive Network

Article excerpt

You'd think a state with an any-willing-provider law wouldn't allow itself to form an exclusive pharmacy network for its state employees. But Indiana did.

Independent pharmacists in Indiana are steamed over their exclusion from a new pharmacy contract covering about 16,000 state employees who are members of a union: the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a division of AFL-CIO.

The 16,000 reflects about 40% of the state's total of 38,000 employees, explained Keith Beesley, attorney for the state's personnel department.

Under their new pharmacy contract, which became effective April 1, the state employee union members were scheduled to begin going exclusively to the 375 state-based drugstores of Hook-SupeRx Inc., a chain headquartered in Cincinnati, Beesley confirmed. Although Hook-SupeRx has subcontracted with 60 independents to serve state employees in rural areas without many of the chain's units, the vast majority of the state's independent pharmacies have been left out.

The contract calls for the state employees to pay a $25 deductible, followed by payments of 10% of the cost of generic drugs and 20% of the cost of brand-name drugs. That's if the employees use Hook-SupeRx pharmacies. If they go outside that network, the employees pay 30% of the cost of a generic drug and 40% of the cost of a brand-name drug.

The contract was formed with the hope of saving the state $1.67 million per year in drug costs for these employees, Beesley said. Last year, the state employees' prescription drug costs jumped 37% to $9. …

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