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Marino Pushes Bill for Pill Pushers

By Meghan Schiller, Contributing Writer

U.S. Rep. Tom Marino this week introduced legislation to change antitrust law in order to allow independent pharmacies to unite and negotiate better prices for prescription medicine.

Credit for this great photo is due Kristen Mullen of the Citizens' Voice

Small, independent pharmacies are unable to easily negotiate reimbursement contracts with major companies, they’re going out of business at a concerning rate.
The “Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act,” HR 1946, is the second bill introduced by Rep. Marino. It’s been endorsed by the Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network (ACP-CN) and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

These are Marino’s and ACP-CN’s main arguments for the bill.

Why should you care? Community pharmacies provide approximately 300,000 American jobs. If independent pharmacies disappeared tomorrow, so would the jobs of your friends and neighbors in the industry.

According to a press release yesterday, the antitrust law must be amended in order to keep these small pharmacies afloat.

Beyond just jobs, Rep. Marino also wants to give private pharmacies the tools to better negotiate with health insurance companies and health plan carriers.

“It’s not a level playing field,” Marino said yesterday. “This bill sets out to level that playing field, that’s all.”

Who would benefit? Every patient in the community. The ability to fill a prescription at a neighborhood pharmacy is a privilege that could soon be lost.

How much will it cost? Other than opportunity cost, absolutely nothing!

“It would not cost the federal government or anyone else a penny. As a matter of fact, it would actually lower the prices for independent pharmacies…” said Marino in yesterday’s introduction of HR 1946.

Why now? Those in favor of this bill believe that it is never a bad time to throw a life-preserver to the small businesses in each PA community.

This legislation does not forget that local pharmacies count as small businesses too.

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