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Miss. court ruling thwarts Rx reimbursement cut
November 16th, 2009
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Mississippi State Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that stops the state from implementing a policy that would have slashed Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement for certain generic drugs.
The National Community Pharmacists Association said Friday that the decision affirms an earlier ruling in favor of a 2008 suit filed by NCPA, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and Mississippi pharmacy owners and pharmacists to block the state Division of Medicaid's plan to set a maximum allowable cost (MAC) for about 800 generic drugs.
According to NCPA, the suit argued that the policy would cut reimbursement to pharmacies by more than 50%, resulting in a dispensing fee that would fall well short of covering pharmacy costs.
Bruce Roberts, NCPA executive vice president and chief executive officer, noted that the Mississippi Supreme Court's decision preserves pharmacy access for Medicaid recipients in the state.
"In some rural and urban areas, community pharmacies are the only health care provider for miles around. Cuts of the magnitude proposed by the state would force many pharmacies to accept fewer Medicaid patients, leave the program or shutter their business altogether. We commend the state's judicial officials for averting such a scenario," Roberts said in a statement.
He added that, with the recession, more people are turning to programs like Medicaid for assistance, which makes pharmacy access all the more critical in holding the line on health care costs.
"We want to work constructively with government officials trying to fulfill their health care obligations on tight budgets. But severe cuts to pharmacies only send patients to costlier doctor's offices and emergency rooms," he explained. "That is why NCPA is working hard at both the state and federal level, in the court system and with elected officials, to ensure fair Medicaid payment. It's critical to keeping community pharmacy doors open for the patients we serve every day."