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Pharma association: New drugstores rules will cost New York $5.6 billion

Staff writer |
New York state legislation that creates a special exemption for drugstores from certain safety and performance standards could increase prescription drug costs by $350 million in 2017.

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This could increast to $5.6 billion over the next decade, according to a new study from the health research firm Visante, released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA).

Similar legislation also being considered in New York would undermine patient safety and make it more difficult for employers, unions, and other health plans to offer home delivery of traditional and specialty medicines.

"The legislation in New York would grant drugstores a 'free pass' to evade safety and performance standards," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

"It's wrong to make employers contract with drugstores that may not be qualified to provide complex specialty medicines."

Specialty pharmacies administer complex biologic medicines, many of which are infused intravenously. They also reduce medication errors, manage and prevent side effects, and promote more affordable alternatives.

New York physicians who prescribe specialty medications are highly satisfied with specialty pharmacies and do not think most drugstores have the "expertise and capability" to provide specialty medications to patients, according to a recent survey.

Prescription drug and related medical costs in New York could increase by $350 million in 2017. Over 10 years, the estimated cost could be $5.6 billion.

The legislation would exempt drugstores from standards related to credentialing, drug utilization evaluation activities, and quality-of-care reviews.

The bill would undermine pharmacy networks contracts and reduce price concessions offered by pharmacies.

A report by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) notes that state policymakers should avoid undermining specialty pharmacies' expertise in dispensing costly specialty medications.

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