The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) joins with Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency (PUTT), Florida Pharmacy Association, many patients and others in opposition to the State of Florida’s recent transition to a managed care model and to a narrow Medicaid pharmacy network that omits many Florida small business community pharmacies and ships taxpayer dollars out of the Sunshine State.
In a letter this month to Governor Rick Scott, NCPA reaffirmed its opposition and outlined better alternatives that would reduce the state’s Medicaid costs while preserving pharmacy choice and supporting Florida jobs and businesses. It comes in addition to a previous letter NCPA sent in May.
“NCPA is sympathetic to the plight of all states facing serious budget deficits, however managed care implementation and overly restricting a patient’s access to a pharmacy of choice in the Medicaid program is not a ‘cure all’ to this situation,” NCPA wrote.
NCPA’s key points from the letter include:
- Maximizing the appropriate use of generic medications is quickest way to reduce drug benefit costs and local pharmacists can help promote their use. But the out-of-state mail order pharmacies operated by the largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs Express Scripts and CVS Caremark) dispense generics 18 percent less often than community pharmacies do.
- Cutting patients off from their pharmacy of choice “decreases the critical face-to-face interaction that patients receive from their pharmacists at a community pharmacy that can have a dramatic effect on patient adherence and the proper use of their needed medication.”
- The 1,324 independent community pharmacies in Florida are integral to the state’s economy. They employ an estimated 14,034 Floridians who, through the multiplier effect, collectively generate $9.7 billion in revenue.
- A number of states are experiencing problems associated with their transition to Medicaid managed care. In Texas, the shift has resulted in a number of community pharmacies going out of business. Kentucky legislators are holding hearings questioning state officials and managed care executives over how rocky its Medicaid transition has been.
There has been increased media attention and questions about Florida’s drastic Medicaid changes. Most recently, the concerns shared by NCPA, PUTT and others were reported in the Sarasota Herald Tribuneas well as the Bradenton Magazine.
For more on NCPA’s recommendations, read NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey’s recent article “Pharmacists Can Help Reduce Medicaid Costs; Urge Caution on Medicaid Managed Care,” in Drug Store News, available here.