Most supermarket pharmacy executives believe comprehensive health care reform could ultimately bring more prescription business, but they are unsure about when it will be legislated, and how they will be reimbursed.
While health care reform was a near certainty as little as three months ago, “it will likely be postponed as the new administration's efforts are shifted toward the more pressing issue of stimulating the economy,” said Frank Wolff, director of pharmacy, Tops Markets, Buffalo, N.Y.
This was echoed by another supermarket pharmacy executive who did not want to be named. “I think we're a ways away from that as the money simply is not there for it. Other things have to be fixed first and then health care reform will follow,” he said.
Eddie Garcia, director of pharmacy, Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids, Mich., is taking a wait-and-see approach on health care reform. “I am a little wary. I am not sure the government has the right answers. But it looks like more people will be covered on insurance.
“In our area where we have had so many people lose their jobs we might see more people able to fill prescriptions where they now can't afford to. That is a possibility.
The Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va., is developing a set of pharmacy principles for health care reform along with the leading pharmacy associations, said Cathy Polley, vice president, pharmacy services.
“Any reform should give all Americans access to prescription medications and to pharmacist care services. Above all, reform should provide Americans with the best and safest possible health care, delivered in the most cost-effective manner,” she said.