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

Make the business case, governor

Linda Baker
Thursday, November 05, 2015
aoikatebrownthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Gov. Kate Brown delivered the keynote speech at the Associated Oregon Industries annual policy forum yesterday.  Speaking to a Republican-aligned audience of about 100 business and public policy leaders, the governor was out of her comfort zone.



Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015
111215-taxilindaBY LINDA BAKER

Raye Miles, a 17-year taxi industry veteran, lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the cab business: breaking the law.


Photos: 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon awards dinner

The Latest
Thursday, October 01, 2015
100best202thumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the big 2015 celebration of worker-friendly organizations that make a difference.


Roll On

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The myth of a freight-dependent economy.


Tech to Table

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Power Lunch at the Barn Light Cafe & Bar in Eugene.


The cover story

Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015

I walked off the Vigor Industrial shipyard that day with a clear cover line in mind: the Love Boat.


Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02