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Secretary of Public Welfare Corrects the Record on 'Smart Pharmacy' Initiative

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman today responded to critics of the Smart Pharmacy initiative, saying the plan would save taxpayers $146 million annually while preserving consumer benefits and simplifying the pharmacy initiative for providers.

"The savings from the Smart Pharmacy initiative are real, not speculative," said Secretary Richman. "This is not a drill. Pennsylvania is facing a budget shortfall now and the savings from Smart Pharmacy will help us maintain Medical Assistance services for every low-income, disabled Pennsylvanian who relies on the initiative, rather than drain the system as some have suggested."

Richman went on to say that 21 other states have implemented initiatives like Smart Pharmacy, resulting in great savings for their taxpayers. The department currently pays for pharmacy services for over 800,000 individuals enrolled in the Medical Assistance Fee-for-Service initiative, with proven positive results.

"Consumers will not be affected by the implementation of Smart Pharmacy," said Richman. "The initiative will provide the same access to prescription drug coverage for the same consumers, while allowing managed care organizations to receive the most up-to-date pharmacy information."

Currently drug purchases are split between seven Medical Assistance managed care organizations, which by federal law are not eligible to receive rebates available to states. Becoming the single purchaser of medications for the Medical Assistance program will allow Pennsylvania to receive discounts that are seven times greater than those available to the managed care companies, saving taxpayers $146 million annually.

"The bottom line is that this initiative will save the commonwealth and taxpayers much needed dollars," said Secretary Richman. "With a budget as difficult as we are seeing this year, we can no longer afford to leave such a significant savings on the table."

    CONTACT:  Stacey Witalec
              (717) 787-4592

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
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