Illinois Pharmacists Fume over State's Mail-Order Rx Rules

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Officials in Illinois are defendingtheir decision to pressure thousands ofstate employees to abandon communitypharmacies in favor of mail-orderdispensaries, arguing that the new programwill not mandate the use of mailprescriptions.

Although that may be technicallytrue, chain and independent pharmacistsin Illinois say the new systemmight as well be mandatory becausefew patients will "volunteer" to paydouble for their medicine.

Under the new rules, the more than50,000 state workers and their dependentscovered by the Illinois employeedrug program will be required to usemail order sources for all 90-day "maintenanceprescriptions," or pay at leastdouble the usual copayment to continuebuying 30-day prescription suppliesat their local pharmacies.

For their part, state officials predictthat the new requirements will reducethe cost of providing drug benefits toIllinois employees by $8 million annually,a figure disputed by pharmacyleaders in the state.