Bill to protect community pharmacists passes legislature

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ALBANY – Legislation that would require that local pharmacists be reimbursed at fair and sustainable rates for prescriptions they dispense has passed in both houses of the state legislature.

The measure was sponsored by Senator James Skoufis (D, Cornwall) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D, Manhattan).

It levels the playing field for retail pharmacies, said Skoufis.

“It keeps the lifeline. It keeps our local pharmacies alive. Right now they are getting completely hosed by these pharmaceutical that set the reimbursement rates for the prescriptions that they fill,” he said.

If signed into law by the governor, it would mandate managed care plans reimburse pharmacies at or above fee-for-service rates. Currently, pharmacies are often reimbursed below cost for prescriptions that they fill.

It would also allow pharmacies the opportunity to participate in another provider’s network under the medical assistance program, and ensure patients have the opportunity to receive prescriptions from brick-and-mortar stores rather than be forced to order through mail-only services.