Study: Mo. dispensing costs rise to $13 per prescription
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A new study by the University of Missouri-Kansas City and St. Louis College of Pharmacy is finding that dispensing costs at community pharmacies averaged $12.99 per prescription in 2014 — a number that’s far higher than the Mo. Medicaid reimbursement of $4.09 per prescription.
“This is vital data to both pharmacists and policymakers as the future of Medicaid is debated,” said lead author Scott K. Griggs, an assistant professor of pharmacy administration at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “As important decisions are being made about costs and reimbursement, it is necessary to have an accurate assessment of the pharmacies’ actual cost to provide services to Medicaid patients.”
The $12.99 figure is lower than the cost of dispensing for rural pharmacies ($14.50), but slightly higher than that of urban pharmacies ($12.67). It cost independent pharmacies on average more ($13.16) than the average chain pharmacy, whose cost was $12.93. The lower cost for chain pharmacies, according to Griggs, reflects the economy of scale in pharmacies with higher volume. But the average still points to the difficulties all community pharmacies face in recouping the cost of dispensing.
“The study demonstrates that Missouri pharmacies need an average gross margin of $12.99 to break even on prescription sales,” Ken Schafermeyer, professor of pharmacy administration at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, said. “If the dispensing fee is designed to cover all overhead costs plus a reasonable net profit of 3 percent of the average prescription price, it would need to be about $14.91 per prescription. This is based on costs as of October 2014; a dispensing fee set at some time in the future should take any future inflationary pressures into account.”
NACDS’ top lobbyist shortlisted for advocacy award
ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ SVP government affairs Carol Kelly has been named a finalist for an award given by the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference, the organization announced Wednesday.
The Excellence in Advocacy Award nomination is in the veteran practitioner category looks to recognize Kelly’s longtime commitment to advocating for health care issues and her taking the lead on efforts like allowing pahrmacists to administer vaccines in every state and legalizing e-prescriptions.
“Kelly’s legislative efforts have saved billions of dollars in healthcare spending, and her career span and proven track record are hallmarks of a truly exceptional advocate,” a post on the NACDS website said.
The winner of the award will be announced in November in Washington, D.C.
TelePharm taps PTCB vet to lead operations
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Digital health care company TelePharm announced Wednesday that it had tapped a longtime Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) veteran to be its VP pharmacy operation.
Adam Chesler will head up retail pharmacy location operations for the company, which uses a digital platform to operate rural pharmacies with certifiec pharmacy technicians and connects patients to remote pharmacists. Chesler bringing his knowledge of regulatory affairs and 15 years of industry experience with him to Telepharm.
“We are delighted to welcome Adam to the team at TelePharm,” founder and CEO Roby Miller said. “Adam’s extensive pharmacy knowledge, paired with his experience working with leaders in the pharmacy industry make him a perfect fit to manage pharmacy operations and serve as a subject-matter expert. He will play an invaluable role at TelePharm moving forward.”
At PTCB, Chesler was the organization’s director of strategic alliances, building relationships between PTCB and other public and private organizations. He was also the organization’s spokesperson. Before joining PTCB, Chesler worked at Longhorn Health Solutions, and he has been a member of the Texas Board of Pharmacy Task Force on Pharmacy Technician Practice since 2014.
“I am grateful to join such a creative and passionate team. The opportunity to help TelePharm bring pharmacist access to rural communities that previously had no healthcare provider is inspiring; I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” Chesler said. “From the start, I was impressed with TelePharm’s business model and commitment to providing healthcare to rural areas. I look forward to expanding new operations and supporting rural access to much-needed healthcare services.”