Sponsored by Oregon Business

Independent pharmacies struggle

| Print |  Email
Articles - August 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
About 1% of Paulsen’s business comes from compounding custom prescription drug preparations. // Photo by Eric Näslund

In Oregon, independent pharmacies are tackling other political and economic issues with varying degrees of success. The sector scored a big win in 2009 with the creation of a “critical access” pharmacy category under the Oregon Prescription Drug Program, which provides coverage to people without insurance, as well as thousands of teachers through the Oregon Educator Benefits Board. After community pharmacists in rural counties complained the program’s reimbursement rates were too low, Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) helped lobby for the new category, defined as the “sole pharmacy in a community within a 10-mile radius of other pharmacies.” Such pharmacies, including Murray’s Drug in Condon — the only store within a 90-minute drive — receive a higher dispensing fee.

People in rural areas often have to drive 20-30 miles or rely on mail order, says Scott Eklad, director of the Oregon Office of Rural Health. “Particularly for emergent conditions, that is not good health care.” The critical access program, Eklad says, recognizes the value of rural pharmacies and the importance of helping them become financially viable.

The budding “Entrepreneurial Academy” at Oregon State University’s College of Pharmacy is another effort to shore up the struggling sector. The program aims to get a new generation of students excited about working in non-hospital settings, says Courtney, who is helping organize the curriculum. The academy will “focus on the business and marketing knowledge” needed to run a stand-alone pharmacy, instead of working as an employee, Courtney says.

Whether these initiatives will compensate for health care reform efforts is unclear. In January, for example, Oregon adopted a new benchmark for Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, a move experts agree will lower reimbursement rates and profitability for independent drug stores. Community pharmacists also oppose a bill that would allow physicians’ assistants under certain circumstances to dispense medications, a policy shift favored by one-stop medical and urgent care clinics such as ZoomCare, a Hillsboro-based company. “We want to make sure we’re not being kept out of the loop,” says Courtney.




0 #1 Oregon bought into an invalid method to calculate Acquisition costJames 2011-09-23 09:53:28
Myers & Stauffer conducts a survey approach to determine pharmacist acquisition cost which is invalid by the time the information is collected, compiled and reported. It is skewed in the direction of the chain pharmacies because they report 2/3 of the data. Why not use a real-time system that costs the state almost nothing. Just go to www.pharmabayonline.com
Quote | Report to administrator

More Articles

Big Trouble in China?

Guest Blog
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
0818-wellmanthumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

Earlier this month, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced they were going to devalue their currency, the Renminbi. While the amount of the targeted change was to be roughly 2 percent, investors read a lot more into the move. The Renminbi had been gradually appreciating against the U.S. dollar (see chart) as to attempt to alleviate concerns of being labeled a currency manipulator.


Is there life beyond Reed?

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A storied institution climbs down from the ivory tower.


Have a baby and keep a job? It won’t be easy in Portland

The Latest
Friday, October 02, 2015
100115kimblogthumbBY KIM MOORE

Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.


Money Troubles

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.


Child care challenge

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Ranking the airlines that fly PDX

The Latest
Friday, August 14, 2015

17 airlines make stops at Portland International Airport, but not all are created equal when it comes to customer service.


New green wood building product takes off in Oregon

Thursday, September 10, 2015
091115-cltjohnson-thumbBY KIM MOORE

Oregon is set to become a hub of a new type of wooden building design as a southern Oregon timber company becomes the first certified manufacturer of a high-tech wood product, known as cross-laminated timber, or CLT.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02