US Pharm. 2008;33(2):8.

OIG Report: Pharmacists' Profits on Medicare Part D Razor Thin
Alexandria, VA -- A report released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services should come as little surprise to thousands of retail pharmacy entrepreneurs. The report discloses that the difference between Part D payments and drug acquisition costs is $9.13 per prescription including wholesale rebates. With the $2.27 dispensing fee, the compensation to pharmacies averages $11.40 per prescription. A recent study from accounting consulting firm Grant Thornton found that the average cost to dispense a Medicare Part D prescription drug is $10.50, yielding 90 cents, on average, per prescription. With an average prescription price of $68.26, the pharmacy nets an anemic 1.3% net profit margin. Responding to the OIG report, National Community Pharmacists Association Executive Vice President and CEO Bruce Roberts said, "When you also consider the slow rate of reimbursementÖpharmacists may be forced to close their doors, or stop participating in these government programs and patient access to the medicines they need will be seriously threatened."

South Carolina Pharmacists May Get Higher Dispensing Fee
Alexandria, VA -- The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) is giving kudos to a proposed Medicaid dispensing fee increase for South Carolina pharmacists. According to NACDS, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently announced it has petitioned the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to more than double the dispensing fee paid to pharmacists in the state for filling Medicaid prescriptions from $4.05 to $9.94. The new fee was based on a study commissioned by DHHS to find out the actual cost of dispensing a Medicaid prescription in South Carolina.

U.S. Health Care Spending Increases Slightly
Washington, DC -- According to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Office of the Actuary, 2006 U.S. health care spending increased 6.7% to $2.1 trillion, or $7,026 per person. This represented a slight increase of 0.2% over the previous year. The results, recently published in Health Affairs, showed that the health care portion of gross domestic product was 16%, also slightly higher than in 2005. Prescription spending jumped to 8.5%, partly due to the impact of Medicare Part D. As a result, Medicare spending increased to 18.7% in 2006 compared to a drop of 9.3% the previous year.

Pennsylvania's Population Second Oldest
Chester, PA -- According to data from the 2000 U.S. Census, Pennsylvania's population ranks among the oldest in the U.S. behind Florida. Widener University, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, conducted a survey of state baby boomers and centenarians about their attitudes toward their futures, work, wealth, and health issues. More than two-thirds of those polled said they had feared that health care expenses would destroy their retirement nest eggs.

2008 Remington Honor Medal Winner Named
Washington, DC -- J. Lyle Bootman, PhD, ScD, has been awarded the 2008 Remington Honor Medal, the profession's highest honor administered by the American Pharmacists Association. Considered a pharmacy research pioneer in the field of outcomes and pharmacoeconomics, Dr. Bootman is an expert in drug-related morbidity and mortality from a clinical and economic perspective. He has published nearly 250 manuscripts, monographs, and textbooks, many related to pharmacoeconomics and health outcomes.

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