Community Pharmacy Issues Heat Up In the States

By Kevin Schweers

There’s fresh evidence around the country of community pharmacy’s vital role in our health care system and why it’s so important for Congress to get health reform done right.

Today, the Web site of the influential publication The Hill published a column by NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, summarizing the problems experienced by patients and community pharmacists in Alaska, New Mexico and Oregon.

Developments in Mississippi, New Jersey and elsewhere are also worth noting.

A recent Mississippi State Supreme Court ruling blocked significant cuts in Medicaid payments to pharmacies, reductions so steep they threatened the viability of some community pharmacies in the state. NCPA, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and Mississippi pharmacists and owners filed suit in 2008 to block the cuts. The suit argued the cuts would slash pharmacy payment by 50%, well below pharmacy overhead costs. Clearly, economic and budgetary times are tough. Recognizing that, NCPA is working constructively with government officials to ensure reasonable payments to pharmacies.

In the Garden State, the Star-Ledger took a close look at what community pharmacists are doing to meet the demand for Tamiflu during the H1N1 outbreak. Over the weekend, a similar report appeared in New York. NCPA heard a number of concerns from community pharmacists trying to process claims on the compound and asked pharmacy benefit managers to address them.

Do you know of another state pharmacy issue worth highlighting? Post a comment below or contact us here.

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