Maryland pharmacy owners request vote on AMP bill

LA PLATA, Md. Maryland community pharmacy owners are asking U.S. House majority leader Steny Hoyer to bring H.R. 3140—Saving Our Community Pharmacies Act of 2007—to the House floor for a vote.

The bill would help community pharmacists with the new reimbursement practices that Medicaid will put into effect in 2008 for generic drugs.  In 2005, the Deficit Reduction Act cut Medicaid pharmacy services by more than $8 billion, causing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to create new rules for Medicaid generic reimbursement based on an average manufacturer price formula.  A December 2006 Government Accountability Office report found that, on average, pharmacies would be paid 36 percent below their acquisition costs using this new formula, therefore forcing patients to seek services from expensive emergency rooms and doctors' offices.

"Who can stay in business at 36 percent below cost?" said Howard Schiff, executive director of the Maryland Pharmacists Association. "AMP does not properly measure retail acquisition costs; it includes sales prices that are unavailable to community pharmacies like County Drug here in La Plata. In Maryland there are 332 community pharmacies that ably provide patients with quality services—services that are not often found in large chain and mail-order pharmacies."

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