Kentucky pharmacists call on Sen. McConnell to fast-track Medicaid bill before holiday

FRANKFORT, Ky. Kentucky community pharmacy owners held a press conference today at Capital Pharmacy and Medical Equipment urging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to help ensure S.1951, the Fair Medicaid Drug Payment Act of 2007, is brought to the Senate floor for a vote before it adjourns this year.

The bill is intended to fix the Medicaid generic prescription drug pharmacy reimbursement cuts called for by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that are scheduled to take effect early next year. Pharmacy advocates claim that the CMS cuts threaten the economic viability of community pharmacy, as well as patient access to pharmacy services.

“Community pharmacy owners like myself are being put in a terrible bind because of the coming cuts to Medicaid reimbursement,” said Mac Bray, owner of Capital Pharmacy and Medical Equipment. “My options will be to either turn my back on my Medicaid patients by limiting or dropping my services, or suffer huge financial losses by continuing to participate in the Medicaid program. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can spare myself and other pharmacists from making that Hobson’s Choice by pushing for the Senate to pass S. 1951 before they go home for the Holidays.”

“Who can stay in business at 36 percent below cost?” said Brad Hall, executive director of the Kentucky Pharmacists Association. “The federal government’s AMP [average manufacturers price] formula does not properly measure retail acquisition costs for community pharmacies like Capital Pharmacy and Medical Equipment here in Frankfort. The real world consequences of this disastrous federal policy will be felt most profoundly by patients, who will see their access to prescription drugs and the valued expertise of their trusted local pharmacists undermined. When that happens these patients will be forced to more expensive options such as visiting emergency rooms. This can all be avoided if Congress acts before the rule is fully implemented on Jan. 30, 2008.”

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