NC PHARMACISTS WARN OF GENERIC MEDICAID MELTDOWN

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Imminent federal cutbacks in pharmacy reimbursement for generic drugs under the Medicaid program have placed the ?neighborhood pharmacist under assault,? and many ?may be forced to drop Medicaid or close stores? as a result, officials at the North Carolina?based Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network (ACP*CN) warned.

?This ill-conceived rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] leaves pharmacies in the dark about how underreimbursed they will be for generic Medicaid drugs,? said Mike James, the group?s vice president for governmental affairs. According to ACP*CN, the problem is that the new definition of the Average Manufacturers Price (AMP) used by CMS to determine payments for generic drugs unfairly assumes that retail pharmacies both big and small get the same discounts as these bigger purchasers.

?It is unfair for CMS to use these discounts on drugs received by other purchasers to establish AMP when independents don?t have access to the same price,? the official maintained.

The worst fears of pharmacists in North Carolina and elsewhere were confirmed by a June 2007 report from the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services.