Rafferty Bill to Improve Access to Community Pharmacies Advances
Harrisburg – Legislation sponsored by Sen. John Rafferty (R-44) to improve access to community pharmacies was
approved by the Senate last week and is moving toward a final vote in the House
Senate Bill 201 requires health insurance companies, Blue Cross and Blue
Shield plans, and government sponsored pharmacy benefit programs to allow
patients to use retail community pharmacies, if the retail community pharmacies
agree to accept the same pricing, terms, conditions or requirements related to
the cost of the prescriptions and the quality of care as are established for
mail order pharmacies.
"This legislation will provide
consumers with the opportunity to use retail community pharmacies, at the same
cost to insurance companies, Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, government
programs, and employers as currently incurred when using mail order pharmacies,"
According to retail pharmacists,
leveling the competitive marketplace will also decrease health care costs by
promoting more effective face-to-face consultations, avoiding the waste often
associated with dispensing only long-term supplies of medications, and promoting
more effective medication therapy management.
"While some consumers prefer to
use mail order pharmacies, surveys of consumer preferences indicate that most
patients prefer the convenience and personal service offered by community
pharmacies and often develop trusted relationships with their local
pharmacists," said Rafferty.
Following approval by the Senate,
Senate Bill 201 was approved by the House Aging and Older Adult Services
Committee, and is now before the full House for consideration.