Oregon, Washington State To Form Prescription Drug Purchasing Consortium
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) on Wednesday announced that the state will join with Washington state to form a prescription drug purchasing consortium to obtain larger discounts on medications for uninsured residents, the AP/Seattle Times reports.
The Northwest Prescription Drug Consortium, which likely will begin to purchase medications this year, will combine an Oregon prescription drug program that provides low-income residents older than age 55 with access to discounted medications and a similar Washington state program. More than five million Oregon and Washington residents qualify for the programs.
The consortium will not purchase prescription drugs for the Oregon Medicaid program.
According to a Heinz Family Philanthropies report requested by Kulongoski and released in conjunction with the announcement of the consortium, Oregon could save as much as $17 million annually through consolidation of prescription drug purchases, increased involvement in the process by the state attorney general, increased efforts to seek rebates on medications and the implementation of a formulary in the state Medicaid program.
Kulongoski said, "The rising cost of prescription drugs hurts everybody -- families, businesses, and Oregon taxpayers," adding, "But by buying smarter and buying together, Oregon can save millions of dollars on prescription drugs" (Skidmore, AP/Seattle Times, 7/27).