Rx Price Disclosure "Model Law" Draws Pharmacy's Fire

Ken Rankin
Published Online: Saturday, January 1, 2005

Community pharmacies across the country would be required to compile and constantly update a retail price list for the 150 most frequently prescribed drugs, under a proposed "model law" being considered by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators.

The plan calls for requiring pharmacies to post signs at prescription counters advising consumers of the availability of the list, and to provide these price sheets to patients upon request. The in-store signs would further be required to inform consumers that "prices for medications may vary between pharmacies."

Pharmacies would be allowed to change retail Rx prices "at any time," as long as the mandatory price list is updated at least weekly to reflect the new prices.

The plan for such a model law is drawing an icy reception from independent pharmacy owners who have warned that if the measure is approved by the Conference, the legislation will be introduced "in many state legislatures."

According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, such price disclosure requirements would be irrelevant for consumers with prescription insurance coverage and would impose an "excessive burden on small business pharmacies."

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