Walter Wong, PharmD, owner of Green Valley Pharmacy in Rancho Cucamongo, CA speaks to Pharmacy Times about low insurance reimbursement, exclusive contracts, and the increase in insurance processing fees as the current challenges to the pharmacy profession today.
Pharmacy Times: Doctor, what’s the biggest challenge facing your profession today?
Walter Wong, PharmD: So, I think 3 things I can pinpoint, the first one being low insurance reimbursement. The profit margin compared to what it was before is much lower. The second being exclusive contracts for the plans with their own mail-order pharmacies or certain big box stores. So when it’s not the preferred location that they want patients to fill the medications, they either don’t cover it or they have a much higher copay. So patients will sometimes still stay with us, knowing they’ll pay more, because of our service, but that’s not always possible for people who are less financially stable. The last challenge is the increase in insurance processing fees, and these vary based on plans and drugs. But sometimes these fees can be more than the actual payout amounts from the insurance.