New law frees some patients from requirements to use mail order
Alexandria, Va. July 9, 2013 - The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today applauded Hawaii elected officials for enacting two new laws that, respectively, will give the state's residents greater choice of where to fill their prescriptions and additional medical privacy protections. NCPA fully supports HB 62 and HB 65, both of which passed the Hawaii House and Senate unanimously and were signed into law by Governor Abercrombie on June 27, 2013.
HB 65 enables many patients to have their prescriptions filled at one of Hawaii's independent community pharmacies or another pharmacy, instead of being required to use distant mail order facilities. Thus, it will help to keep Hawaii dollars in the Aloha State and strengthen local economies, NCPA argued in supporting community pharmacists' push for the legislation. Most mail order pharmacies are owned by drug plan administrators known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that often incentivize or require the use of mail order, which is often unpopular with patients and effectively undermines local jobs and commerce.
HB 62 restricts the ability of PBMs to utilize patients' private medical information as a marketing tool in order to try and steer them into "preferred pharmacy" plans affiliated with the PBM.
"NCPA appreciates the overwhelming support Hawaii's elected officials have shown for this pro-patient, pro-pharmacist, pro-local economy legislation. We congratulate the community pharmacists whose grassroots efforts made this accomplishment possible and NCPA was proud to work closely with them in supporting these bills," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Some patients may prefer mail-order pharmacies and that option remains available to them under this law. However, mail order is not for everyone. Many consumers report problems with mail order, which is also associated with medication waste. Patients should have the right to choose which pharmacy they prefer for their personal health needs. Independent community pharmacies offer face-to-face medication counseling and other pharmacy services. They are also pillars of their communities and an important source of jobs and local revenue."
Hawaii follows Pennsylvania and New York as states that have recently enacted laws giving patients more freedom from mandatory mail order requirements.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.5 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com/.
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