Alexandria, Va. - Jan. 17, 2012
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today commended Regions Bank for rescinding its policy requiring employees fill prescription drugs for chronic conditions through mail order pharmacies. This new policy was scheduled to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2012. The policy would have prevented Regions' employees and their families from utilizing community pharmacies.
"Regions Bank has rightfully garnered a reputation as being employee and community centric as well as friendly to small businesses, such as independent community pharmacies throughout the southern states they serve," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "If Regions Bank had ultimately mandated that its health plan beneficiaries use only mail order to fill prescriptions, patients and the independent pharmacists who care for them would have suffered. In fact, in this case we estimated that a mandatory mail policy by Regions Bank would have resulted in approximately $31 million dollars in lost economic activity for the affected local communities each year."
Hoey added, "Having prescriptions filled at mail order pharmacies is certainly the prerogative of plan beneficiaries, but it should be the patient's choice. There is no substitute for the face-to-face interaction that patients have with their local pharmacists, who have the expertise to help reduce the nearly $290 billion that is wasted annually on the improper use of medications. We thank Regions Bank for listening to the concerns of its beneficiaries, independent community pharmacists and other stakeholders in preserving patient access to high-quality community-based pharmacies. NCPA was proud to support the work of the American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc. (APCI) and the Georgia Academy of Independent Pharmacy on this effort."
The revised policy was communicated to Regions employees in December.
"We had an extremely constructive dialogue with Regions' leadership and based on the business case, ultimately it was decided that mail order is not for everyone," said APCI CEO Tim Hamrick, RPh. "We recognize the real pressures that corporations like Regions Bank feel to rein in health costs, and independent community pharmacies can help through real cost reduction strategies such as driving greater generic prescription drug utilization, reducing medication waste and ensuring that patients take their medications as directed by their doctors"
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 a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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