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Re: “Will pharmacists wreck the governor's budget over reimbursement dispute?

This article is written very poorly.
First off, there was no "insurrection by pharmacists". They simply attended the January 31, 2018 meeting of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Oversight Subcommittee. Insurrection is defined as a revolt or resistance against civil authority or established government. They attended and contributed to the meeting, providing committee members with relevant information from the community pharmacy perspective and requesting that something be done to stop PBMs from being able to reimburse under cost.
Second, the sentence that an "insurrection" (that didn't happen in the first place) has grown to the point to threaten the Governor's budget simply doesn't make sense. Neither does the author indicate how the "insurrection" ... "has grown".
Third, the author does not know his facts - even chain stores such as Walgreens and big box stores such as Kroger's pharmacies do not get "preferential treatment" from CVS Caremark.
Logically, if pharmacies are being reimbursed at below cost for drugs they sell to treat patients, it is an unsustainable business model and they will go out of business.
I sincerely hope that the Governor will thoughtfully consider all the information available, including evidence that CVS Caremark is reimbursing community pharmacies and its own CVS pharmacies at different rates, which clearly breaks Arkansas Act 900. The fact that certain community pharmacies have been sent letters from the acquisition arm of CVS indicating that if they are interested in selling their pharmacy that CVS is open to discussions, simply adds fuel to the fire.
There is also evidence that CVS pockets the difference between what it decides to reimburse pharmacies and what Medicaid pays it for drugs for eligible individuals, which is an illegal practice.
If Senator Caldwell has pharmacists in his family he must be all the more aware of the intricacies of the situation, which is a definite plus. PBMs serve a purpose and they should be compensated for it, but they have grown vertically, are starting to exert control over the market, and are not conducting business in an ethical manner, thus threatening Arkansans' choice of pharmacy care. They work behind the scenes and it takes someone who has insight into the pharmacy sector to understand their full impact.
A bad scenario would be:
- Arkansans on Medicaid are refused service at all pharmacies except CVS;
- independent pharmacies close because waiting until spring is not an option for many;
- Arkansans in general are limited to getting their prescriptions from CVS.
I urge the Governor to review all the information available and to take a leadership position. Government budgets are made to serve the people and if the people of Arkansas end up with no choice for their pharmacy needs, a balanced budget will still be a failure.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by DnA on 02/14/2018 at 10:53 PM


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