Sunday, October 28, 2007

Part D killing small pharmacies

It's not a Canadian story, but I thought it would be a good idea to mention some of the difficulties that independent pharmacies are feeling in the States. Would a Canadian national pharmacare program have similar issues? I think it's possible.

From Newsday (NY):
While I was on the phone with Frank Deluco, a Staten Island pharmacist, he had a typical emergency.

The customer was in pain and needed his prescription quickly but couldn't figure out his benefits under Part D. Deluco filled the prescription and helped relieve the elderly customer's pain and confusion.

But Deluco, 56, whose Delco Pharmacy has been in business 40 years, may be a dying breed; thousands of neighborhood drugstores like his represent an endangered species. Deluco explained one reason why: A 90-day supply of the drug for his customer costs him $216 and change, but he'll be reimbursed only about $214 by the insurer and the Pharmaceutical Benefit Manager (PBM) he deals with.

"We're supposed to make at least $10 or $15 as a dispensing fee," he said. "But we get $1.50 or $2, so we lose money most of the time and we have no power to get a better price from the PBMs. And they're often late in paying us for the prescriptions we fill." ...more

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