(Washington, DC)— Pending legislation (PA HB 511/SB 201) that would prohibit mail-service pharmacies from charging less than drugstores would increase health care costs for Pennsylvania employers and consumers by more than $570 million over the next ten years, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said today. The Pennsylvania Employee Benefit Trust Fund also found that, “such restrictions on the use of mail-order pharmacy would increase costs to the state employees benefit plan by $47.5 million in the first year of implementation.”
“This prescription drug tax is bought and paid for by the drugstore lobby and will raise health costs for small businesses, unions, government agencies, and consumers. In this economy, employers need every cost-saving tool they can get and mail-service pharmacy is at the top of the list,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.
Compared to brick-and-mortar drugstores, mail-service pharmacies offer deeper discounts and reduced copays.
- Mail-service pharmacies save consumers and payers an average of 15% on 90-day prescriptions compared to 90-day prescriptions obtained at brick-and-mortar drugstores.
- Mail-service pharmacies save consumers and payers an average of $22 per 90-day prescription compared to the same prescription obtained at a drugstore.
Across the country, all types of pharmacies – including independents – are filling an increasing number of prescriptions, indicating broad consumer access to all pharmacies and no rationale for restrictions on mail-service pharmacies.
Home delivery is popular with patients because it offers 90-day prescriptions that are less expensive and is more convenient than driving to the drugstore. Nearly eight-out-of-ten small businesses want to be able to continue offering discounts that encourage employees to use the more affordable mail-service pharmacy option and consumers who use home delivery are strongly satisfied with it. With mail-service pharmacies, patients can get private counseling over the phone from trained pharmacists seven days a week, 24-hours a day.