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    NACDS Forms Coalition for Medicaid Reform

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Spurred by concerns about the potential effect of Medicaid budget cuts on health care, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said yesterday that they had created the Coalition for Meaningful Medicaid Reform (CMMR). A series of ads that begins running today reflects the group's desire for "meaningful changes to Medicaid."

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Spurred by concerns about the potential effect of Medicaid budget cuts on health care, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said yesterday that they had created the Coalition for Meaningful Medicaid Reform (CMMR). A series of ads that begins running today reflects the group's desire for "meaningful changes to Medicaid."

    "Congressional action on Medicaid appears imminent, and while we have few details about the shape Medicaid reform will take, most of what we know, we don't like," said NACDS president and c.e.o. Craig Fuller in a statement. "We appreciate that policy makers have worked diligently to find appropriate ways to reform Medicaid; however, we fear that billions of dollars in cuts are being targeted at the Medicaid benefits that support our nation's most vulnerable citizens. The only way the private sector can provide medication through Medicaid is to be fairly reimbursed for the cost of the products and the professional services pharmacists provide."

    The Coalition for Meaningful Medicaid Reform's membership includes such grocers as Ahold USA, Brookshire Grocery Co., Giant-Landover, Marsh Supermarkets, Price Chopper, Publix, Safeway, Stop & Shop, and Weis Markets.

    The coalition formed in response to retail pharmacy's concern for the 50 million Americans receiving health care through state Medicaid programs. Community pharmacy filled over 800 million Medicaid prescriptions in 2004, a number expected to rise this year because of the addition of many Hurricane Katrina evacuees to the Medicaid rolls.

    "Community pharmacy has worked with state Medicaid programs to help implement cost savings and provide quality health care -- helping save tens of millions of dollars for states and the federal government," explained NCPA e.v.p. and c.e.o. Bruce Roberts. "Community pharmacy has been particularly successful in increasing the use of lower-cost generic medications. That's why we strongly believe that a critical ingredient in achieving Medicaid savings is the establishment of a new system that encourages generic drug dispensing to Medicaid recipients. We can help Congress achieve Medicaid savings if they will partner with community pharmacy instead of making ill-advised budget cuts that will jeopardize patient access."

    Added Roberts: "A successful Medicaid prescription drug program needs the support of America's 55,000 pharmacies and nearly 150,000 pharmacists who work with Medicaid patients every day. There are many ways to protect the financial future of the Medicaid prescription drug benefit without jeopardizing the future of community pharmacy."

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