Letters to the editor: March 19, 2007

March 19, 2007

I was desperate to start my own pharmacy after graduating in 1975. My father was a small business entrepreneur and I could not keep a job with the chains; I always wanted more success. I read an article in Drug Topics in 1982 about the Bechtel Building pharmacy in San Francisco. The concept of a high-rise building pharmacy with a built-in population of thousands seemed like a good idea. I traveled and talked to the pharmacy personnel in that pharmacy and decided that I would do the same. We ended up in Dallas.

I built a pharmacy in a 29-storey Trammell Crow building, but I ended up on the second floor-above street level! Ever hear about a pharmacy above street level? We were there for about nine years, leaving the state in 1991 with many life-long memories. All because of your article!

We eventually built two more traditional retail stores in California before I was forced to retire after 30 years, because of a car accident. But I shall always remember Drug Topics. You have been one of the most important forces in my life.

Don't like AMP

Since Medicare Part D started, our percentage of Medicaid patients was reduced to about 15%. We will have to discontinue service to this 15% of our patients if AMP goes through as suggested and its impact is as currently suggested by NCPA, NACDS, and others. So 15% of my patients will have to drive 30 to 40 miles to get service.

I can survive losing this 15% of my business, but I won't like it. What I am most concerned about is where Medicare Part D will go and all the PBMs once this is initiated.

Spence Clairmont, R.Ph.
Walhalla Prescription Shop
Walhalla, N.D.

We must speak up

I have received feedback from the Alabama congressional delegation that the reason legislators vote the way they do on pharmacy issues is that they don't receive information from pharmacists on the issues they are being presented with. According to more than one legislator, they are never contacted by our national organizations-even though that is not what we are told. On the recent vote on drug price negotiations, I was told that I was the only pharmacist who contacted their office-the only one.

It is, of course, a good idea to belong to our state associations and the national ones, too. We should not, however, feel that these organizations are making our contacts for us. They need to do their job, but we need to do ours as well. We must express our views on the issues confronting pharmacy. They must know on a regular basis how we feel about drug negotiations, AMP, the need for a national PBM bill to force these oligopolistic bullies to treat us fairly, to revise ERISA so that companies don't qualify unless they provide 100% of the funding of a healthcare plan. There should be an end to the antitrust exemption enjoyed by insurers, and we must have the ability to collectively negotiate our contracts. We must get off our duff and let our voices be heard. If, after making our views known, we still don't get representation, then we must let our actions be felt and elect those who will represent us. We must do this not tomorrow, but today. We must.

Norman W. Davis
Medical Park Pharmacy
Phenix City, Ala.
medicalpharmcy@bellsouth.net

E-prescribing fee unfair for R.Ph.s

In your Feb. 5 Latebreakers, you reported: "Coalition puts muscle behind e-prescribing."

I guess Kevin Hutchinson, president/CEO of SureScripts, thinks that charging pharmacies a fee for transmitting e-scripts is a good idea, since his company will be making money off of pharmacies.