Calif. Pharmacists Concerned as 10% Medi-Cal Cuts Take Effect
On Friday, Medi-Cal will begin paying 10% less for some prescription drugs, KQED's "The California Report" reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Details of Pharmacists' Concerns
According to "The California Report," pharmacists say the Medi-Cal cuts could hurt their businesses, noting that there is a "misconception" that selling prescription drugs is exceedingly profitable.
Jon Roth, CEO of the California Pharmacists' Association, said, "The margin in drug products is roughly 2% to 4%," adding, "If you're looking at a 10% reduction, you're immediately upside down and dispensing medication at a loss."
Some pharmacies said the reduction in Medi-Cal payments could make them unable to afford health insurance coverage or retirement plans for their employees.
Other pharmacists have said they would stop selling some costly prescription drugs instead of taking a financial loss on medications that are included in the Medi-Cal cut.
However, patient advocates warn that such a move could adversely affect individuals in need of expensive prescription medications for:
- HIV; and
- Mental health issues.
In response, the state developed a list of 2,600 drugs that will be exempt from the cuts. Roth said the exemptions have made the reimbursement cuts "more palatable" (Dembosky, "The California Report," KQED, 2/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.