San Joaquin Valley Leaders Consider Prescription Drug Purchasing Pool
Consumer advocates and business leaders on Thursday announced plans for a prescription drug purchasing pool for San Joaquin Valley residents, which supporters say would save residents 20% to 40% on medications, the Fresno Bee reports. Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus and Tulare counties were invited to consider such plans.
Representatives from the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and members of the local business community said San Joaquin Valley officials should consider adopting a plan similar to one the Los Angeles City Council approved in May.
The LARx program, which is being developed by FTCR, is expected to launch in about two months. Under the plan, Los Angeles would contract with a pharmacy benefit manager to negotiate drug discounts of as much as 40%, with costs to the city "expected to be minimal," according to the Bee.
Speaking at a news conference at the Fresno office of the California Nurses Association, FTCR Health Policy Director Jerry Flanagan said the proposal "would bring that same model to the San Joaquin Valley." Flanagan said the plan would be available to uninsured as well as insured residents.
Participants would receive a card to obtain discounts at area pharmacies.
A town hall forum on the plan was scheduled for Thursday night at the Comcast studio in Fresno. Attendants at the forum were expected to discuss whether San Joaquin Valley entities should join the Los Angeles plan, form its own purchasing pool or create a Fresno County pool (Correa, Fresno Bee, 7/29).