Local pharmacists hope a new bill will bring financial relief

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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A bill in Frankfort is on the minds of some local pharmacists struggling financially. They hope Senate Bill 50 provides relief.

In recent years things have changed at pharmacies like Richard Slone's Rx Discount Pharmacy.

Slone says two things determine how much your typical prescription costs: a dispensing fee and the actual cost of the drug.

"It gets to the point that eventually you just have to say, is it really financially feasible, financially worthwhile to be a business?" he said.

Lately, he says those factors are leading to less profit, but he says Senate Bill 50 could help.

"Senate Bill 50, what we want to do, is to level the playing field so small businesses such as myself and even your larger chains such as Walgreens can get an adequate reimbursement from a product. Currently, our competition really determines what our reimbursement is and how much it's going to be," said Slone.

How it works is a pharmacy benefit manager, or PBM, is somewhat of a middle man. Right now they have a lot of influence between local pharmacies like Richard's and the state.

"Senate Bill 50, just Medicaid. It does not affect Medicare, public employees, public retirees, teacher retirees that type a thing or private insurance."

The bill would limit the influence of those PBMs and open up more communication with the state, which is something that isn't as prevalent right now.

Slone says currently small pharmacies are impacted the most and some might even shut down.

"For anyone that's on Medicaid, if you have to drive a great distance, is very expensive and you don't get that good service," said Slone. "The biggest thing is knowing them, knowing what they need and caring about them. "

He is hoping the bill can help keep his doors open by removing the impact PBMs have. Slone says it would make him more money and save the taxpayer money.

Senate Bill 50 is now pending in the Senate rules committee. You can read the bill below:

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