The state could easily eliminate its Medicaid pharmacy budget gap simply by focusing on its generic dispensing rate at all pharmacies in the state. Each percentage point improvement in the generic dispensing rate would save the state approximately $1.2 million annually. As a low-cost, quality alternative to brand name medications, generics are good for patients, the state and pharmacies.
Is this accurate or not?
The Department of Health and Human Services studied generic drug utilization rates in State Medicaid programs in 2006, and found that Delaware had one of the lowest generic usage rates in the nation:
Delaware, Connecticut, Idaho--49%
The highest rates were:
Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky--59%
ExpressScripts estimated in 2004 that Delaware could save--overall, not just in Medicaid programs--over $67 million by adopting stronger regulations regarding the use of generics.
Specifically, the AARP notes, Delaware does not mandate--even in State Medicaid programs--that pharmacists dispense generics rather than brand-name drugs if the physician does not specifically write "Dispense as written" or "Brand medically necessary."
Nor, the same study found, does Delaware have a requirement for its State Medicaid program either to provide an incentive fee for generic substitution or require the dispensing of the lowest cost multiple source drug.
In other words, folks, regardless of what a heartless corporation Walgreens may be, the point about Delaware being among the laggards in mandating usage of generics and in percentage of generic fills for the State's Medicaid program is absolutely correct.
A 5% improvement in our generic fill rate for Medicaid, bringing Delaware up to 54%--or roughly the national average--would save the First State $6 million, and render the issue of cutting the reimbursement rate for brand names moot by simply not allowing their use as often.
This, of course, is one of the things that nobody in the Markell administration apparently had the time to research.
I'm also left with this intriguing question about Walgreens. I will grant jason, for the sake of intellectual integrity, that Walgreens has a shitty track record even for a giant corporation.
The problem, as Dana Garrett pointed out in August 2007, is that Al Levin knew all this when he took the money and ran. So then, deciding not to run for Governor after he cashed in, Al accepts a position in the Markell administration and then blasts the corporation that handed him bazillions of dollars not only to take over his pharmacies but to keep his brand name....
So Levin has credibility in this issue exactly why?
Notice a pattern here?
The Markell administration is right about across-the-board employee pay cuts and the State employee unions are wrong.
The Markell administration is right about sports betting and the NFL is wrong.
The Markell administration is right about Medicaid reimbursements and Walgreens is wrong.
Nor are these entities simply wrong--they're now evil and selfish for refusing to sacrifice for the good of the cause.