COVID 19: Independent Pharmacy Response & Engagement

On March 30, 2020, PUTT issued a formal letter to all state Governors, Insurance Commissioners, and Boards of Pharmacy providing a 4-Point Plan for the active engagement of independent pharmacies during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Prior to COVID-19, pharmacies and patients faced a number of barriers to care, including high medication costs. Those barriers still exist.

The U.S. can "flatten the curve" of increased medication costs and other barriers with smart, thoughtful PBM reform. Until the coronavirus is contained, action in the following 4 critical areas will allow independent pharmacies to provide quality, uninterrupted care in the eye of the pandemic storm:

  • Halt Pharmacy Audits During the Pandemic

During the pandemic, audits force pharmacy staff to stop assisting their patients and divert that time instead to filing, copying, and other administrative work. By calling a halt to PBM audits until the coronavirus is contained, you will free up pharmacy staff time to provide patient care. 

  • Call a Moratorium on PBM Transaction and Miscellaneous Fees

At a time when pharmacies are struggling to keep inventory on the shelves and labor to assist patients, a moratorium on transaction and miscellaneous fees will free up cash flow to help small business pharmacies stay open and in service

 

  • Mandate PBMs Reimburse Pharmacies at Current Market Acquisition Cost + Reasonable Dispensing Fee

No business can sustain itself without being made whole and paid at a reasonable margin for providing service. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare have determined what constitutes a “reasonable” dispensing fee for each state. Small business pharmacies and their staff are no less busy and no less at risk for their safety than giant retail chain pharmacies and staff - but in the absence of deep corporate pockets, independent pharmacies are at risk for closure if they cannot recoup their costs to pay their bills.

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  • Allow Pharmacists to Administer FDA Approved Vaccines and/or Allow Provider Status for Pharmacists

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to swell in the U.S., independent pharmacists can provide coronavirus testing as well as certain clinical services to ease the burden on hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms. These services include administering FDA-approved vaccinations, testing patients for certain illnesses, and prescribing treatment and testing for the novel coronavirus. These are services pharmacists can provide patients cost-effectively and immediately -- without an appointment.

View Individual State Responses to PUTT's 4-Point Plan Initiative Here

The Data

The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented crisis for states nationwide. In response to our 4-Point Plan letter, some state officials took the time to definitively respond, while many states agencies simply issued a form letter of receipt.

Regardless of response or lack thereof, PUTT will continue to contact and push for reform with all states on a regular basis on behalf of independent pharmacies.

 

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