Retail News Breaks Archives
Bank praised by NCPA for nixing mandatory mail order
January 17th, 2012
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association has applauded Regions Bank for rescinding its policy requiring employees to fill prescription drugs for chronic conditions via mail order pharmacies.
NCPA said Tuesday that the bank's new policy had been scheduled to become effective Jan. 1, a move that would have prevented employees and their families from getting prescriptions filled at community pharmacies. The revised policy was communicated to Regions employees in December.
"Regions Bank has rightfully garnered a reputation as being employee- and community-centric as well as friendly to small businesses, such as independent community pharmacies throughout the southern states they serve," NCPA chief executive officer B. Douglas Hoey said in a statement.
"If Regions Bank had ultimately mandated that its health plan beneficiaries use only mail order to fill prescriptions, patients and the independent pharmacists who care for them would have suffered," he explained. "In fact, in this case, we estimated that a mandatory mail policy by Regions Bank would have resulted in approximately $31 million dollars in lost economic activity for the affected local communities each year."
Hoey noted that a mail order option for pharmacy benefits "is certainly the prerogative of plan beneficiaries, but it should be the patient's choice."
"There is no substitute for the face-to-face interaction that patients have with their local pharmacists, who have the expertise to help reduce the nearly $290 billion that is wasted annually on the improper use of medications," he stated. "We thank Regions Bank for listening to the concerns of its beneficiaries, independent community pharmacists and other stakeholders in preserving patient access to high-quality community-based pharmacies."
NCPA said it worked with the American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (APCI) and the Georgia Academy of Independent Pharmacy on the effort to sway Regions to nix the policy change.
"We had an extremely constructive dialogue with Regions' leadership and, based on the business case, ultimately it was decided that mail order is not for everyone," commented APCI CEO Tim Hamrick. "We recognize the real pressures that corporations like Regions Bank feel to rein in health costs, and independent community pharmacies can help through real cost-reduction strategies such as driving greater generic prescription drug utilization, reducing medication waste and ensuring that patients take their medications as directed by their doctors"
Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions serves customers in 16 states in the South, Midwest and Texas and operates approximately 1,800 banking offices.