Bills will protect patients' privacy and ability to choose their own pharmacy
Alexandria, Va. May 2, 2013 - The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today urged Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie to sign two bills into law that will protect patient pharmacy choice and prevent Hawaii residents from having their private medical information used as a marketing tool by drug middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), some of which also operate mail-order pharmacies. The conference reports for HB 62 and HB 65 both passed the Hawaii House and Senate unanimously and await the Governor's signature to become law.
"NCPA strongly supports these two key pieces of legislation as a means to protect the ability of patients to choose where they want to address their medication needs. Local pharmacies provide the kind of support that patients expect and deserve, such as vital face-to-face interaction with a local, trusted pharmacist that can help to maximize health outcomes. Some may wish to use mail-order pharmacies and can continue to do so under this legislation. But mail order is not for everyone, and patients should have the right to choose which type of pharmacy they prefer for their personal health needs," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA.
"Patients should also be able to take care of their health needs with the knowledge that their personal medication records are secure and will not be used by large corporations to market a particular service or product," Hoey added.
A study done by Wirthlin Worldwide showed that 83 percent of customers prefer to fill their prescriptions at a community pharmacy rather than through a mail-order pharmacy and, overall, 72 percent of customers oppose mandatory mail-order plans. Another survey by NCPA and MENTORx in January found that nearly two-thirds of seniors were fearful of losing access to the pharmacy of their choice if they were required to use mail order.
The legislation will also help to keep Hawaii dollars in Hawaii and strengthen local economies. As Matthew DiLoreto, the Director of State Government Affairs at NCPA, pointed out in a letter to Governor Abercrombie yesterday, "The legislation will prevent out-of-state PBMs from undermining local jobs and commerce by requiring that Hawaii residents send their dollars out-of-state to purchase their prescription medications only through the mail."
Hoey continued, "Thanks to the efforts of Hawaii pharmacists, these two bills garnered unanimous support in the Legislature and deserve to become law. These two bills are win-wins for patients throughout the state, and we hope Governor Abercrombie will sign this legislation into law without delay."
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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