This is what the president said a few days ago.
“People talked about how the decision to reform Medicaid was immoral. Well, it’s not immoral to make sure that
prescription drug pharmacists don’t overcharge the system.”
Oh Boy! What other kind of pharmacist is there and what president was this? The Chairman of the Totally Clueless President’s Club? Perhaps the head of the Bash Pharmacists Without Knowing What the Hell You are Talking About Society. Both secret organizations? At Yale? Nope. The president of this quote is the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush. Oh Boy!
I cannot imagine anyone in the pharmacy business reading this quotation who is not appalled at the lack of knowledge that this statement indicates. If you are a pharmacist and you are making big gobs of money from Medicaid profits, let me know. I’ll write that down and the common perception that filling Medicaid prescriptions is practically a charitable kindness will be shattered once and for all.
30 years ago, where I practiced, the average prescription price was somewhere around $18.00. The pharmacist was able to charge AWP plus $3.65. That was a 20% profit and not many drug stores had to pay AWP.
They paid a net price and made a little bit of profit by buying direct. The average pharmacist was certainly not going to send his kid to a private college with Medicaid profits, but, at least, there was a profit.
Today, the average prescription price is around $90.00. Triple that for a 90 days supply. And the final price of the prescription is based not on AWP, but on AWP minus way too much. The fee hasn’t changed much. It is still in the $3.65 range 30 years later.
I spoke with a pharmacy owner about the president’s statement yesterday.
I could almost hear his eyes bug out over the phone. His voice sounded strained. “He said that?”
“Yup, he did.”
The pharmacy owner mentioned a popular drug that is touted on television for preventing strokes. “I just filled a prescription for a three month supply. It was over four hundred dollars and I barely made five bucks.”
“That is less than 2% profit,” I said.
I could hear him clattering on the calculator. “A whopping 1.25% profit,” he said. “I can’t believe he said that.”
“He did,” I said.
What is up with the president’s advisors? Don’t they do any homework?
They allow him to make a fool of himself. He looks like a complete dope.
The truth is that pharmacists are absolutely NOT making big gobs of cash from Medicaid. You know it and I know it. So why doesn’t George W. Bush know it? The answer I am afraid is just too simple. It is simple lack of knowledge. Just plain, old-fashioned, I-don’t-really-have-a-clue IGNORANCE.
Oh Boy! I just sent messages to both of my US Senators and my Congressman about this. I told all three of them that any pharmacist who is depending on Medicaid profits to support his family will have some really hungry kids at home.
Now, I will send a similar message to the President of the United States.
How can I be tactful? Polite and respectful? I’ll manage somehow.