Letter to the Editor: Pharmacists, services suffering due to cuts

As the first line of healthcare delivery, particularly in underserved urban and rural areas of Illinois, pharmacists strive every day for the advancement of patient care. Leaders in Springfield are considering a budget that would cut reimbursements for prescriptions for the fourth time in just the past four years. Pharmacies and their patients have done their fair share – we hope local lawmakers reject this proposal.

If further cuts are implemented, pharmacies will have to reconsider their ability to serve Medicaid patients, cut staff and hours, or possibly even close their doors. Any of these alternatives will hurt patients whether Medicaid eligible or not, but most especially our community’s seniors and low-income children. These decisions will not be easy but pharmacies cannot provide services for less than it costs them to deliver those same services.

Pharmacists offer services that are critical to everyone’s healthcare: prescription medications, counseling, preventive vaccines and health screenings. Further cuts to the Medicaid pharmacy program will be detrimental to community-based pharmacies, pharmacists, and most importantly, the patients they serve.

It’s time to stop treating pharmacies and their patients like second-class citizens.

Rob Karr, President of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association

Garth Reynolds, Illinois Pharmacists Association

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