Stephen Anderson

Area pharmacist Stephen Anderson traveled to the Virginia legislature in Richmond along with other members of the Virginia Pharmacists Association on Thursday to support a bill meant to give patients the right to fill prescriptions at any pharmacy for the same co-pay.

Area pharmacist Stephen Anderson traveled to the Virginia legislature in Richmond along with other members of the Virginia Pharmacists Association on Thursday in support of a bill meant to give patients the right to fill prescriptions at any pharmacy for the same co-pay.

House Bill 2223 made it to the House floor by a 11-8 vote on Thursday.

Anderson, a PharmD with Halifax Pharmacy, attended a Commerce and Labor Committee meeting in support of House Bill 2223, allowing patients to fill prescriptions at any pharmacy for the same co-pay.

Anderson attended the meeting with the Virginia Pharmacists Association along with other independent pharmacists from around the state.

House Bill 2223, if passed, would require insurance companies to set the same co-pay across the board, and it would keep insurance companies from directing patients to a pharmacy perhaps owned by that particular insurance company, according to Anderson.

In a way, that would level the playing field for smaller, independent pharmacies, he indicated.

“Right now you have the right to go to any pharmacy you want, but it may cost you more,” said Anderson. “This bill would eliminate that, and it would be the same price no matter where you went.”

House Bill 2223 as written requires that insurance companies set co-pay amounts the same for any pharmacy, including independent pharmacies, or mail order, and it requires insurance companies to reimburse all pharmacies at the same rate.

The Virginia Pharmacists Association also supports two other bills relating to pharmacies now circulating through the General Assembly.

HB2561 requires that provided contracts between an (insurance) carrier or its pharmacy benefits manager and a pharmacy or its contracting agent provide that when an audit of pharmacy records is conducted, that audit would be conducted in accordance with specified criteria.

HJ662 would direct the Joint Commission on Health Care to study the dispensing of drugs and devices pursuant to pharmacy collaborative practice agreements, standing orders and statewide protocols.