NCPA Commends Ohio for Compromise Allowing Medicaid Beneficiaries to Continue Getting Diabetes Testing Supplies from Local Pharmacies



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Alexandria, Va. - June 6, 2012 The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today commended State of Ohio leaders for adopting a plan to reduce Medicaid costs for diabetes testing supplies while helping preserve patient choice and access to independent community pharmacies.

In a letter, Ohio's Medicaid program outlined its decision not to establish a competitive bidding and mandatory mail order program for diabetes testing strips. In its place, Ohio opted for a manufacturer rebate model that gives the state access to discounted pricing from manufacturers.

Ohio's decision was in response to advocacy efforts by the Ohio Pharmacists Association and a letter sent by NCPA explaining the negative consequences that requiring mail order would have on diabetic Medicaid beneficiaries and the independent pharmacies that serve them.

"Independent pharmacists are part of the solution when it comes to high costs, especially in Medicaid," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Ohio's Medicaid program found a compromise that maintains beneficiary choice and access to diabetes testing strips. We look forward to working collaboratively with Ohio and other states to reduce health care costs in a responsible and effective manner that doesn't have unintended consequences. A special acknowledgement must be given to the Ohio Pharmacists Association and Ernie Boyd who took the lead in working toward this desired outcome."

In advocating for a policy that protects patient choice NCPA, which represents more than 23,000 independent pharmacies across America including 550 in Ohio, noted that studies indicate that forcing patients to use mail order can undermine proven cost-saving strategies such as proper utilization of prescription drugs or supplies and ensuring patients are adherent to the regimen outlined by their physician. In addition, mail order leads to product waste, such as when excessive supplies are auto-shipped to patients.

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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