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Pharmacists Commend Congress' Concern over Medicare Preferred Pharmacy Drug Plans
Date:3/21/2013

han they are at non-preferred, network ones, such as locally owned pharmacies.  In addition, community pharmacies are losing longtime patients to rival pharmacies without having any opportunity to participate as a preferred pharmacy.  It is high time for Medicare to ensure seniors preserve their right to choose their pharmacy rather than being led into certain pharmacies."

In an analysis, NCPA staff looked at four common drugs (generic version of Lipitor—atorvastatin calcium Tab 20mg 90 day supply; generic version of Plavix—clopidogrel Tab 75mg 90 day supply; diovan—Tab 80mg 90 day supply; and Nexium—Cap 40mg 90 day supply) on Medicare's Plan Finder website. Looking at two large preferred pharmacy plans (AARP MedicareRx Preferred and Humana Walmart Preferred Rx), the cost of the drugs was compared between preferred pharmacies, mail order pharmacies and non-preferred pharmacies in eight cities (Helena, MT; Salt Lake City, UT; Pierre, SD; Cheyenne, WY; Boise, ID; Denver, CO; Salem, OR; and Des Moines, IA). Across the eight cities, the Plan Finder full cost of the preferred network pharmacy was more expensive than the Plan Finder full cost of the non-preferred network pharmacy 75 percent of the time. Furthermore, the Plan Finder full cost when comparing mail pharmacy to a non-preferred network pharmacy, was again higher 94 percent of the time.

Last month, Medicare officials hinted at such cost discrepancies, saying, "We are concerned because our initial results suggest that aggregate unit costs weighted by utilization (for the top 25 brand and top 25 generic drugs) may be higher in preferred networks t
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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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