ALEXANDRIA, Va. According to a survey by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Food Marketing Institute, 11,105 pharmacies across the country could close due to reductions in the Medicaid reimbursement rate. This will affect more than 300,000 people who have jobs in these pharmacies and will also lead to a loss of $31.1 billion for the nation’s economy.
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 calls for reimbursement rates on Medicaid prescriptions to be well below their cost to fill them and this will most likely lead to the store closings.
The study finds that the impact of the decrease in reimbursement rates on the number of pharmacies will vary by state. However, the largest percentage reductions in pharmacies are projected in New York (40 percent), the District of Columbia (37 percent), Louisiana (32 percent), West Virginia (30 percent) and Alaska (28 percent).
“These cuts threaten to diminish access to medications and pharmacy services, and they also threaten the vitality of communities,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “Pharmacies are the face of neighborhood healthcare, but these cuts could wipe these faces away, particularly in rural and urban areas with higher Medicaid populations.”
“In many rural and urban communities, supermarkets provide the only pharmacies able to serve Medicaid patients,” said Tim Hammonds, president and chief executive officer at FMI. “By reducing Medicaid reimbursements as this law requires, many pharmacies would be forced to close, and low-income Americans would have to travel many miles to obtain vital medicines.”