With the stroke of the Governor's pen, Ohio becomes one of only a handful of states that has been able to enact Hold-Harmless language that protects pharmacies against potentially severe AMP (Average Manufacturer Price) cuts. The Hold-Harmless language was included in the budget bill which was signed into law by Governor Ted Strickland on Saturday, June 30. In a nutshell, the language simply says that when the AMP takes effect, the ODJFS director has 30 days to study the effect of these cuts on Ohio pharmacies, and to determine how much money Ohio pharmacies will lose. Then the director must increase the dispensing fee by an amount that equals the amount of money we lose. This language will allow pharmacies in Ohio to stay open and continue to serve the pharmacy needs of Medicaid patients and the citizens of Ohio by increasing the dispensing fee to more accurately reflect the cost of filling a prescription in Ohio.
This victory was accomplished through a joint effort between independent and chain pharmacies. Thank you to everyone who came to Columbus to testify before the legislature, wrote letters, sent emails or made phone calls. We logged well over 300 emails sent to Senate and House members during the budget deliberations. This is by far the best response rate we've seen, and I think it told the legislators that this was a serious issue for pharmacy.
Please take the time to call Governor Strickland, and your state representative and senator to thank them for their support on this issue.
Thank you for your continued support of OPA!
Ernest Boyd, RPh, MBA
Ohio Pharmacists Association
2155 Riverside Dr.
Columbus, Ohio 43221