Kentucky Pharmacists Agree to Compromise on Pill Splitting

DECEMBER 01, 2003

    Kentucky pharmacists have tentatively reached a compromise with state Medicaid officials over a controversial "pill splitting" plan designed to save the program an estimated $6.7 million annually.

    The controversy erupted in May 2003 when Kentucky's Medicaid Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee proposed new rules requiring participating pharmacists to dispense a higher-strength version of 4 commonly prescribed brand name antidepressant drugs, and then to split the pills for patients in order to save program costs. Under the plan, pharmacists were to be paid 15 cents for each pill they split.

    State pharmacy board officials, however, balked at the pill splitting mandate, warning that the requirement would be "unnecessary and potentially confusing to the patient."

    Under the proposed compromise, Medicaid would allow the pharmacist and the patient to decide who would split the pills to achieve the savings.


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