Pharmacists Urge Governor Cuomo to Sign Bipartisan Bill to Preserve New Yorkers' Pharmacy Choice, Support Local Jobs and Businesses

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Alexandria, Va. - June 22, 2011

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) in support of bipartisan legislation on his desk that would provide patients with choice as to where they purchase their prescription drugs, help preserve local jobs at community pharmacies and keep more health care dollars in the Empire State.

Assembly bill 5502-B, the Anti-Mandatory Mail Order Pharmacy Bill, passed unanimously in the N.Y. State Assembly and by an overwhelming 60-to-2 vote in the N.Y. Senate. The bill would prevent patients from being forced to use a particular pharmacy, such as mail order, or being financially punished for using the pharmacy of their choice.

In response, NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO, B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement:

"New York has some 2,200 independent community pharmacies which provide patients with personalized care that helps improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Unfortunately, restricting the patients' choice of pharmacy undercuts effective medication adherence based on face-to-face interaction, sends tax dollars out of state in a struggling economy, and threatens local pharmacy jobs. According to the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY), the required use of mail order pharmacies has resulted in over $5 billion worth of pharmacy business leaving the state every year."

"That's why NCPA strongly supports this bipartisan bill, which sailed through the New York Assembly and Senate thanks to the leadership of its original sponsors, Assemblyman Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Senator George Maziarz (R-Newfane), and the efforts of PSSNY and others. The bill not only allows for pharmacy choice, but does not increase prices for patients or health plans. It also begins to tackle an ongoing challenge for independent community pharmacies by encouraging a level playing field among competing pharmacies, including mail order.

"We hope Governor Cuomo recognizes the benefit of this common-sense, market-based bill and signs it into law. If a patient wants to keep frequenting their local pharmacy and all the advantages that come with it, then they should have that choice. If they want to use a mail order pharmacy, then that should also be their choice. But the decision should not be made by a large corporation with a vested interest in growing its mail order business. This bill will help prevent that latter outcome from occurring."

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, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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