Alexandria, Va. - Nov. 1, 2012
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) has signed into law S.B. 201, a bill that takes critical steps towards leveling the playing field between large pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and the mail-order pharmacies they own and local, independent community pharmacies. In response, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO, B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement:
"A victory for consumer choice and better health care in Pennsylvania was achieved with Governor Corbett's signature being added to S.B. 201—now 2012 Regular Session Act 207. By supporting the bill that emerged out of Pennsylvania's State Senate and House, the Governor allows more than 1,000 local mom and pop pharmacies throughout Pennsylvania to match the reimbursement terms and conditions that large mail order pharmacies currently enjoy. Until this change, mail order pharmacies, often located out-of-state, which are owned by the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who administer prescription drug plans, had a distinct, unfair advantage."
"The PBMs would either mandate or incentivize the use of their mail order pharmacies regardless of patient preferences. When you consider research shows four out of five patients prefer to use a community pharmacy over mail order pharmacy, it was the patients that lost under that system. That preference for community pharmacy over mail order comes from the face-to-face interaction with a trusted, local pharmacist who can help maximize health outcomes. Now the patients will gain greater control over their health care by being able to choose where they get their prescription drug services. That's fair and is the way the free market should work.
"Throughout the legislative process NCPA provided support to our allies on the ground who lobbied vigorously for this common-sense bill. We sent letters to Pennsylvania lawmakers explaining all the benefits that would occur with this approach and visited Harrisburg to discuss the issue with Pennsylvania pharmacy representatives, members of the opposition and legislators, among other things. In the end, those arguments carried the day. We hope other states that have not adopted this prudent policy follow in the footsteps of the Keystone state.
"NCPA wishes to thank and congratulate the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA), Value Drug Company, Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists (PARD), Crisci Associates Government Relations Firm and all the other Pennsylvania pharmacy organizations that NCPA had the pleasure of supporting during this effort."
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.5 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40 percent of all retail prescriptions, and employ 300,000 people, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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