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Pharmacy Bill Moves Forward In Legislature

May 23, 2014

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A new bill that would allow Californians to opt-out of mail order pharmaceutical programs advanced Friday in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AB 2418 would also allow patients and pharmacists to synchronize the pickup of multiple medications. 

The bill is a response to cost-savings efforts by many health insurance providers that have limited options for how patients receive their prescription drugs.

Jon Roth is the CEO of the California Pharmacists Association:

"Health plans and pharmacy benefit administrators have begun really forcing patients to receiving medications via the mail, without any ability for patients to opt out, or if they had the provisions to opt out they were very difficult." 

If it becomes law, the new bill would allow patients to opt-out of the program more easily, and continue to see their local pharmacist. Roth says that patients who have a relationship with a community pharmacist are more likely to take their medication properly and can also receive other health care services that pharmacists are now authorized to provide. 

"Our position is that the evidence is very weak in terms of the cost savings, and when you really look at the lack of medication adherence, or the rate at which people effectively take their medications, we know that there's a much better chance they're going to take them properly and completely if they have a chance to interact with a community pharmacist."

The bill would also allow patients who use prescription eye drops to receive their medication early in order to account for medication that can sometimes be lost through spillage.