MA Residents Are In A Medicinal Merry-Go-Round!
Pioneer Institute recently conducted a study as Massachusetts is on the verge of joining 45 other states which will allow prescribers to dispense prescription drugs. This move is a vehicle for patients to save money as the cost of medication has skyrocketed in more ways than one.
Josh Archambault is the co-author of "Prescriber Dispense Makes Sense“. He has the answer as to why this has become a rampant problem:
"One reason why patients are paying more for prescription drugs out-of-pocket is that middlemen (commercial pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers) add substantial costs over wholesale prices,”
To sum this all up: It's profits over people, which should be the other way around as pharmaceutical companies are playing Russian Roulette with people who depend on this vital prescription and that is totally deplorable, if you ask me.
Josh Windham and Dr. Jeff Gold reiterated prescribers have the power to dispense routine drugs often at a fraction of the purchase price which would give patients a more affordable option.
Statistics show from 2019 to 2020, per-member spending on drugs have risen 8.6 percent for 71% of Massachusetts enrollees that have commercial insurance which brings the average annual cost to almost $1,000. Nearly half of those enrollees in the Commonwealth who are on high-deductible plans, that particular cost comes almost entirely out-of-pocket and that does not help during these trying times.
National survey data shows around 30 percent of adults are NOT taking their prescribed drugs due to price concerns, 18 percent aren’t filling their prescriptions due to price, and 15 percent are cutting pills in half or skipping a dose to save money. This is an outrage as medication adherence increased by 29 percent for senior citizens on Medicare as plans allow direct dispensing.
92% of prescribers who dispense prescription drugs report they do so at prices that are the same or lower than what patients would pay in a pharmacy, and 81 % of patients who purchase these necessary drugs from them are in full agreement.
Research shows that patients who get drugs directly from prescribers experience negative reactions at identical rates as those who purchase from a pharmacy. A far lower percentage sought emergency room care from prescriber-dispensed drugs, perhaps because the patient can take the first dose with the provider and be monitored in the office for any immediate reaction.
Dr. Jeff Gold believes retail pharmacy locations should implement these practices immediately to rectify the problem:
“As chains like CVS and Walgreens offer more primary care in their stores, they can effectively offer direct dispensing, But in Massachusetts, all others are banned from doing so.”
The process of Direct dispensing also saves consumers time and also reduces the amount of time prescriber staff will spend coordinating with pharmacies plus it also evens the playing field with big pharmacy chains bringing true competition and choice for those involved.
“As chains like CVS and Walgreens offer more primary care in their stores, they can effectively offer direct dispensing,” said Dr. Jeff Gold. “But in Massachusetts, all others are banned from doing so.”
A 2014 study found that five of the states that allowed prescribers to dispense drugs required the prescribers to comply with the same regulations as pharmacies, 26 states required complying with only some of the regulations, and 16 merely required dispensing prescribers to register with a state licensing board.
H 2140 (An Act to Improve Access to Prescription Medication), would allow providers to prescribe routine, non-addictive drugs as long as they informed patients of their right to choose where to fill prescriptions and complied with any labeling, storage or record keeping requirements the Department of Health chose to adopt.
In addition to the 45 states that allow physicians to dispense drugs, 38 also allow nurse practitioners to do so. Massachusetts, which recently allowed nurse practitioners to practice independently, should consider allowing direct dispensing for both.
(Some information obtained in this article, courtesy of www.pioneerinstitute.org)
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