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Abercrombie mulling bill to help local pharmacies

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:54 a.m. HST, May 13, 2013

A bill sitting on Gov. Neil Abercrombie's desk could increase competition for Hawaii pharmacies and make it easier for some residents to receive their medications.

The Hawaii Legislature passed the bill to allow residents to go to their local pharmacies to get their prescription drugs. Some plans, including current state and county employee health plans, require people to receive certain drugs by mail, like diabetes or allergy medication.

Advocates of the bill say that it is an issue of consumer choice. They say residents of Hawaii's rural areas, particularly neighbor islands, have had difficulty getting their medication under current plans.

But critics say the bill will drive up costs. The Hawaii Medical Service Association and CVS Caremark Corp. say the mail-order requirement makes prescription drugs more affordable.

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tiwtsfm wrote:
Who in the world would want to trust their prescriptions to a mail order service? Your health is too precious to deal with that ambiguity. Anyone unfortunate enough to have to take a prescription drug should at least be able to deal with their local pharmacist, people they know and trust. Why should a drug be cheaper mail order? It just means that some big company is making the money instead of your local pharmacist. Where you purchase your prescriptions should be a personal choice, not mandated by an insurance company or government agency.
on May 13,2013 | 12:46PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
That is exactly what the local pharmacies would want you to believe. Actually, I have used such a service with no problems whatsoever. I got my prescription over the mail so I did not have to waste gas and stand in line for a period of time. The prescription is exactly what I would get at the pharmacy. The only difference was that it was being mailed to me at no added cost. What is ironic is that the cost of the medications were a whole lot less than at the local pharmacy. It also allowed me to get my medication in bulk which is why the cost is less. These companies actually are regulated and are safe.
on May 13,2013 | 02:00PM
bender wrote:
It would seem a matter of preference for you. But others might prefer to get their meds from the local outlet.
on May 14,2013 | 05:48AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
The critics that state that mailing prescriptions will drive up costs are full of it. Such plans often result in reduced costs to consumers. The critics must be the pharmaceutical companies who are afraid that such a plan would drive their prices down as these plans often opt for generics over name brand prescriptions.
on May 13,2013 | 01:56PM
serious wrote:
Exactly correct--mailing saves time and gas--convenient and I get auto refills, auto pay, can't beat it!!!
on May 13,2013 | 02:04PM
bender wrote:
What do you do when your package doesn't arrive on time, or has the wrong contents? It's not as if you can jump in your car and run down to the pharmacy to straighten out the problem. And it has happened, perhaps not to you, but nonetheless it is a problem.
on May 14,2013 | 05:53AM
Tilac wrote:
What the help is the State doing now. This is reminiscent of there attempt to regulate gas prices and we all know what a fiasco that was.
on May 13,2013 | 04:06PM
holumuahawaii wrote:
The entire modern world buys generic prescription drugs by mail order. It saves up to 80% of the cost of drugs and is completely safe. All of the group health systems use this purchasing method. It would cost the state Employer Union Trust Fund an extra $20 million dollars each year to go back to the system previously used. That $20 million saving goes directly into the pocket of the taxpayer.
on May 14,2013 | 05:30AM
bender wrote:
$20 million is a lot and obviously there are those who have a different opinion about the costs. One has to wonder how much physician dispensed drugs has driven up the cost to the state (and to other insurers).
on May 14,2013 | 05:51AM
molokai wrote:
One size does not fit all. Mail order does not work as well as local pharmacies in really small communities. We have had real trouble getting our co-pay reimbursed. We have had to justify certain prescriptions to the mail order pharmacy. The paperwork was ridiculous for both examples and nothing positive resulted. The local pharmacy knows the community and deserves a fair chance to stay in business.
on May 14,2013 | 06:03AM
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