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 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Retail Pharmacy Coalition issued the following:
 Executives of the nation's drug manufacturers are being asked to indicate by Sept. 1 their support for legislation to end discriminatory drug pricing as part of a health care reform proposal advocated by the Community Retail Pharmacy Health Care Reform Coalition.
 The coalition, which represents the totality of community retail pharmacy, consists of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and NARD, the national association representing independent retail pharmacy. Collectively, the coalition's members operate over 60,000 community retail pharmacies, employing over 112,000 pharmacists, or two of every three pharmacists practicing in the United States.
 In letters mailed to 140 pharmaceutical company executives, coalition leaders Ronald L. Ziegler, NACDS president and CEO, and Charles M. West, NARD executive vice president, pointed out that President Clinton favors reforms of the health system that eliminate cost shifting and result in overall cost savings.
 Coalition leaders stressed in the letter that executives of some drug companies have acknowledged privately that a problem exists with current discriminatory pricing practices. However, manufacturers have not stated publicly whether they are in favor of ending discriminatory pricing practices if there were a legislative mandate requiring all manufacturers to comply.
 "With over 2 billion outpatient prescriptions dispensed annually in community retail pharmacies, American consumers, who frequently lack prescription drug coverage, pay higher prices than they should because of drug manufacturers' pricing policies," said Ziegler. "Each day, on average over 5.6 million prescriptions are dispensed in community retail pharmacies to consumers who pay higher prices as a result of drug makers' cost shifting."
 "We don't need to look to Canada, Mexico or Europe to see radical differences in the cost of prescription medications," said West. "Multitier pricing practices of drug makers in the United States are the principal cause of higher prices to community retail pharmacies. The greater the discount to hospitals, HMOs and others, the higher the price has to be in community pharmacies to cover the drug makers' cost shifting."
 The coalition's proposal to the White House cites conservative outside estimates that at least $24 billion in savings would result over five years by eliminating discriminatory pricing.
 In the joint letter, West and Ziegler pointed out that the Community Retail Pharmacy Health Care Reform Coalition's recommendation to end discriminatory pricing has received widespread support. To date, 43 state pharmacy associations in states with over 90 percent of all pharmacies have endorsed the proposal, as well as other state chain pharmacy and professional organizations.
 In reviewing the cost shifting problems associated with manufacturers' discriminatory pricing, coalition leaders have provided the President's Task Force on Health Care Reform with data illustrating discriminatory pricing practices.
 One example provided the White House Task Force was an invoice for nearly 500 prescription medications paid by Prucare, a buying group for hospital pharmacies in the Southeast. On average, prices paid by Prucare were 59 percent lower than the wholesale prices paid for the same products by community retail pharmacies. One-fifth of the prescription drugs were priced at 82 percent or more below the average community retail pharmacy wholesale price.
 The Community Retail Pharmacy Health Care Reform Coalition was established in February 1993 by NACDS and NARD. In addition to advocating an end to manufacturers' discriminatory pricing, the coalition seeks the inclusion of pharmacy services as a basic benefit in health care reform, the elimination of excessive administrative costs and the guarantee that all consumers have access to the pharmacy of their choice and all pharmacies have access to the marketplace. More than 2 billion prescriptions with a value of over $45 billion are dispensed by the 122,000 pharmacists working in over 60,000 community retail pharmacies.
 -0- 8/11/93
 /CONTACT: Phillip L. Schneider of NACDS, 703-549-3001, or Todd Dankmyer of NARD, 703-683-8200/

CO: National Association of Chain Drug Stores; NARD ST: Virginia IN: HEA SU: LEG

MH-TW -- DC020 -- 1793 08/11/93 15:24 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 11, 1993

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