PCMA: Medicaid Rx Modernization Can Save Billions Without Cuts

Mar 01, 2011, 09:18 ET from Pharmaceutical Care Management Association

Governors Christie, Cuomo Announce Plans to Save $391 Million

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO Mark Merritt issued the following statement in response to today's U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee hearing on Medicaid and State Health Care Reform:

"Governors can save hundreds of millions by simply administering Medicaid pharmacy more like Medicare and the private sector.  It's time for Medicaid to stop paying more for prescription drugs than Medicare and private insurers.

"A recent report finds that on average Medicaid pays higher pharmacy rates, uses fewer generics than other programs and that states and the federal government together could save more than $30 billion over the next decade by transitioning to more efficient approaches used by Medicare Part D plans and the commercial sector, including union and state employee plans. This would save Michigan $150 million, Illinois $613 million, Texas $1.2 billion, California $2.1 billion, and New York $2.3 billion over the next decade.  

"The Governors of both New York and New Jersey recently announced their 2012 budgets will include proposals to manage prescription drug benefits more like those in other, more affordable Medicare and private sector programs, with a projected combined savings of $391 million.  Recent polling finds voters would rather modernize Medicaid pharmacy than cut benefits for patients or payments to doctors and hospitals.

"The easiest way for states to reduce spending in Medicaid without cutting benefits – or slashing hospital or physician payments – is to modernize pharmacy benefits and start using cutting-edge marketplace tools to negotiate lower rates and increase the use of generic medications."

PCMA represents the nation's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which improve affordability and

quality of care through the use of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), generic alternatives, mail-service pharmacies, and other innovative tools for 200-plus million Americans.

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association