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Heartbreak as independent pharmacy closes in Warren County

The Warren County Pharmacy was never just that. To some, it was family.

Even on Thursday, a day after it ceased pharmacy operations, customers wandered in to pick among the increasingly bare shelves for home goods, greeting cards and other tchotchkes.

Some were upset, even tearful, when they learned the shop that has been there along Route 57 in Washington for more than 75 years will close its doors for good at the end of the month.

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By Steve Novak | For lehighvalleylive.com The Express-Times
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on March 16, 2017 at 3:10 PM, updated March 16, 2017 at 3:15 PM

STUDY: How TV News Ignores The Prescription Drug Price Problem

Opening a new front in the war against big pharma, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and a slew of Democratic colleagues introduced a bill Tuesday to allow commercial importation of drugs from Canada.

The appeal is obvious; through cheap imported drugs, the United States would be able to take advantage of the government levers and regulation that other countries have used to bring down pharmaceutical prices. It’s a far more politically palatable way to attack the problem of soaring drug prices than opening up an even more contentious fight over whether the U.S. government should meddle directly in pricing — and it has had wide popular and bipartisan support, including from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.

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March 13, 2017 3:13 PM EDT ››› CAT DUFFY

Reform Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) To Improve Pharmaceutical Affordability

Imagine if you never had to directly pay for your morning cup of coffee again. Instead, a coffee insurer guaranteed that, for a small co-pay, you could enjoy a cup of coffee every morning.

Sounds good?

The catch, and there is always a catch, is the caveat “directly pay.” In this bizarre world, you would still be paying for your cup of coffee every morning, but instead of paying your favorite barista, you would now pay your local coffee insurer.

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Forbes.com Wayne Winegarden, Contributor

Gilead Executive Says Pharmacy Benefit Managers Keep Prices High

Gilead Sciences Inc.’s hepatitis C cure set off a firestorm of criticism over high drug prices in 2014 that hasn’t let up since. Now an executive says the company can’t cut the product’s price because middlemen who manage drug benefits would refuse to cover it.

“If we just lowered the cost of Sovaldi from $85,000 to $50,000, every payer would rip up our contract,” said Jim Meyers, executive vice president of worldwide commercial operations, in an interview with Bloomberg News.

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Bloomberg.com

How ‘middlemen’ force some small-town pharmacists out of business

Your small town community pharmacists say they’re under threat from an unregulated industry which they believe limits the choices consumers have to buy their medicine. They the blame the problem on “middlemen” drug suppliers called pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

This year, Republican lawmakers in Georgia and Washington, D.C. are doing something unusual about it – asking for more regulation of the industry.

Mark Parris operated two pharmacies in Blue Ridge, Georgia for 19 years. He sold both in 2014 after he says about 30 percent of his patients were forced to get their medicine elsewhere.

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