A recent op-ed (Guest Column, “Support patient choice, Michigan small business,” Sept. 22) shows how the independent drugstore lobby wants to eliminate Medicare Part D plans that offer the lowest monthly premiums and are popular with seniors.
The legislation (H.R. 4577) entitles “any” drugstore to participate in a discount pharmacy network, regardless of how much it charges. It bans low-cost pharmacy networks that require drugstores to offer discounts in order to participate in the network. The result will be higher prescription drug costs for seniors.
One recent study estimates that preferred pharmacy networks will reduce government spending by over $9 billion; another study shows the drugstore lobby bill will increase spending by over $21 billion.
For years, people have known that provider networks of hospitals and doctors reduce health care costs. Pharmacy networks also can lower costs, without making it hard to find nearby drugstores. There are more drugstores in the U.S. than McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Pizza Huts, Wendy’s, Taco Bells, Kentucky Fried Chickens, Domino’s Pizzas and Dunkin’ Donuts combined. The pharmacy landscape is ripe for more competition.
Medicare Part D is working for seniors. Special interest bills like H.R. 4577 raise costs and eliminate popular low-cost plans. If the drugstore lobby wins, seniors will lose.
President and CEO
Pharmaceutical Care Management Association