If Drug Prices Were Lower, Maine Would Not Need A Law: Wellman Explains

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Earlier this year, passed a law that allows its citizens to purchase prescription medications from a Canadian broker that deals with licensed retail pharmacies in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The effort, which had backing from both Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature, reinstated a law that a former attorney general had declared illegal. The new law, however, is being challenged in court by trade groups for drugmakers and pharmacists, which worry the initiative may be duplicated in other states (back story with lawsuit link). So far, though, the program seems to be working, at least according to Scott , the chief financial officer at Hardwood Products, a large employer in Portland, Maine, that was closely involved in the legislative effort…

Pharmalot: What prompted you  to get involved?

Wellman: We’d been using a Canadian broker – CanaRx – to purchase brand name medications for our employers through a self-insured health plan for six year priors to the former (state) attorney general saying it’s an illegal pharmacy practice. All of our employees were on a very specific list of drugs. These were name-brand maintenance medications for cholesterol diabetes, asthma, depression – and they were able to get them. CanaRx was coordinating the purchasing from Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, where there are price controls. So  we were able to pay 100 percent and our employees paid nothing. They took the medications they so we had a healthier workforce. We were told that we probably save $ 120,000 to $ 150,000 a year…  As an example, a prescription for Crestor at the local Rite Aid was $ 500 and our employees paid 20 percent. But the same filled through CanaRx cost $ 250. And so the savings turned out to be closer to $ 400,000. So that’s why we needed to do…Read more

Pharmalive – The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

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