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COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS ON SAVINGS IN PRESIDENT'S HEALTH CARE PLAN

 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's community pharmacists have an answer for those who ask where the savings are to be found in President Clinton's health care reform plan.
 A good percentage will come from lower prescription drug prices at community pharmacies and the lives saved and health care costs reduced because of universal access to prescription drugs and pharmacy services, say leaders of the Community Retail Pharmacy Health Care Reform Coalition.
 The plan includes pharmacy services in the standard benefit package and extends prescription drug coverage to the nation's 36 million elderly through the Medicare program.
 It also requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide community pharmacies equal access to the same prices they are now giving to others in the marketplace. Currently manufacturers give deep discounts to select purchasers -- such as mail-order houses and HMOs -- but refuse to provide the same discounts to community pharmacies, which dispense more than 93 percent of all outpatient prescriptions each year.
 "Giving the nation's community pharmacies equal access to fair prices will produce real savings for consumers at the retail level," Charles M. West, executive vice president of the National Association of Retail Druggists (NARD) told a group of reporters Tuesday.
 Ronald L. Ziegler, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), noted, "Full access to prescription drugs and effective drug therapy for the elderly can save billions in overall health care costs for the Medicare program."
 Health care experts believe that pharmaceutical services, including face-to-face counseling by a pharmacist, could reduce overall health care costs by $36 billion per year. The savings would be found in reduced dangerous and costly side effects of drug use, fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits and decreased nursing home admissions among the elderly.
 The coalition's spokesperson said they did not believe that the president's plan would threaten the ability of drug makers to fund new drug research.
 They pointed out that recent studies put net income for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry at 14.1 percent for the first half of this year, compared to 4.4 percent for all U.S. industries and 1.8 percent for community retail pharmacies during the same period.
 "Providing equal access to prices for all pharmacy providers, as the president's plan does," said West, "will not jeopardize the research capabilities of the nation's prescription drug manufacturers."
 The coalition's members employ more than 112,000 community retail pharmacists and operate over 60,000 community retail pharmacies.
 -0- 9/30/93
 /CONTACT: Philip L. Schneider of NACDS, 703-549-3001, or Todd Dankmyer of NARD, 703-683-8200, both for the Community Retail Pharmacy Health Care Reform Coalition/


CO: Community Retail Pharmacy Health Care Reform Coalition ST: Virginia IN: HEA SU: EXE

MH-KD -- DC026 -- 7386 09/30/93 14:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 30, 1993
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