Doctors Say Patients Will Benefit From Pennsylvania's Medicaid Pharmacy Management Proposal

Thursday, June 26, 2008 General News J E 4
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 25 Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman today welcomed the endorsement of two major groups representing doctors in support of the Department of Public Welfare's plan to save $100 million a year by paying less for prescription drugs for children and families who receive health care through the Medicaid program.

In letters to members of the General Assembly and Secretary Richman, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the department's proposal to assume management of pharmacy programs for Medicaid clients. Currently, drug purchases are split between seven managed care organizations.

"We welcome these endorsements of our plan to create a unified system because doctors understand -- and agree -- that it will improve the quality of service to Medicaid clients," Richman said. "As I've said before, our plan makes sense for the consumers we serve, for doctors who want a unified system, and also for the taxpayers who pay the bills."

When DPW becomes the single buyer, it will be eligible to collect federal Medicaid rebates that managed care organizations cannot receive under law. In addition, DPW will have stronger purchasing power to negotiate better prices on medications -- on average, saving 30 percent over the prices the managed care organizations pay.

Richman said 20 other states have implemented this change for some or all of their drugs, resulting in great savings for their taxpayers.

"According to media reports, the big pharmaceutical manufacturers and managed care organizations that earn significant profits from the current system continue to spend millions of dollars to try to block cost-saving proposals such as ours," Richman said. "But the facts are clear and many doctors agree: our plan is in the best interest of both patients and taxpayers, and the General Assembly should allow it to move forward as part of the new state budget."

CONTACT: Anne C. Bale

(717) 787-4592

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare


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