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Lawmakers Move To Protect Independent Pharmacies In Drug Contracts

Pharmacist Clint Hopkins displays the HIV prevention drug Descovy, at Pucci's Pharmacy in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.
Rich Pedroncelli
Associated Press

The state has been trying to crack down on predatory practices associated with pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen in big drug contracts.

Independent pharmacies and community health centers say they need to be protected from any fallout. They are backing a new bill meant to provide these facilities with a safety net.

Community health centers and independent pharmacies can get federal funds to reduce drug prices and then pass along savings to patients.

However, Logan Yoho with Hopewell Health Centers, which operates in nine southern and eastern Ohio counties, says facilities like his are being targeted with discriminatory contracts that absorb all or part of that money. He added that there could be big consequences.

“There would be a lot of these staff members that we would have to lay off and possibly close clinics in really low-income areas," Yoho says.

The bipartisan bill would prevent insurers from imposing fees or reducing reimbursements to these clinics and pharmacies simply because they get this federal money.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.