Pharmacists Applaud Governor Cuomo for Signing Bipartisan Bill into Law to Preserve New Yorkers' Pharmacy Choice



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Alexandria, Va. - Dec. 13, 2011

National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement in response to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signing Assembly bill 5502-B, the Anti-Mandatory Mail Order Pharmacy Bill, into law to provide patients with choice as to where they fill their prescriptions:

"In signing this bill into law, Governor Cuomo made the right call for public health, patient choice and New York jobs. First, the law empowers patients to choose the best pharmacy option for their personal health needs and preferences. While most patients overwhelmingly prefer to talk to a pharmacist in person, those who prefer to use mail order facilities will have that choice. But mail order is not for everyone and the key is leaving that decision in the hands of patients—not a large corporation with a vested interest in growing its mail order business.

"Second, face-to-face consultations with pharmacists help to ensure patients take their medication properly. That reduces costs, too, as improper medication use has been estimated to result in much as $290 billion in avoidable expenses. In addition, pharmacists are better positioned to identify potential adverse drug interactions when patients keep their prescriptions in one place.

"Third, amid a struggling economy, this law keeps more New York health care dollars in the state. That supports local tax revenue and jobs, including those at the Empire State's 2,200 independent community pharmacies. According to the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY), the required use of mail order pharmacies has resulted in over $5 billion leaving the state every year.

"In addition, we believe that opponents of the law who allege that it will result in higher costs are mistaken. For example, community pharmacies dispense lower-cost, generic drugs about 20 percent more often than most mail order facilities, which often profit from brand-name manufacturer rebates and other hidden incentives. And in some instances, health plans that incent or require use of mail order pharmacies end up paying more for their prescription drugs, possibly due to self-dealing by pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs.

"Community pharmacists appreciate the leadership of Governor Cuomo and that of the legislation's original sponsors, Assemblyman Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Senator George Maziarz (R-Newfane), who secured the overwhelming, bipartisan support of their colleagues. The tireless work of PSSNY and others were also critical to enactment of 5502-B, and NCPA was proud to support those efforts.

"Moreover, enactment of this bill into law is a signal to community pharmacists across the country as to what can be accomplished nationally and in their own states by working together through grassroots activism. In this instance, legislation that protects patient choice and helps to align the interests of the patient, payer, plan, and pharmacist is now state law."

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 a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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