Arch-Rivals Join to Oppose 'Mandatory Mail-Order' Prescriptions

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Neighborhood pharmacies often compete with large chains, like Duane Reade and Walgreens, for customers, but the rivals have been making common cause in Albany.

Both sides want Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would prohibit health insurers — including the state Medicaid system — from forcing consumers to buy drugs by mail order.

Insurers and some business groups favor mail-order drugs, primarily to keep costs down, but Chris Krese, a spokesman for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said local pharmacists deserve a chance to compete.

"There needs to be a level playing field," Krese said. "And the patients should not be influenced or financially coerced to select any one provider over another."

Insurance companies argue that selection happens all the time — with the companies choosing medical practices, negotiating rates and directing policy-holders on which providers they can go to, if they want to be covered.

The proposed law would essentially preserve the status quo. Insurers, including the state's Medicaid program, could still give consumers strong incentives to buy drugs by mail, but they wouldn't be able to eliminate brick-and-mortar stores as an option.

The bill has been passed by both houses of the state legislature, but has not yet been sent to Governor Cuomo.

When he gets it, he’ll have 10 days to sign the bill, or it automatically becomes law.


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Comments [180]

Spencer from Tennessee

Whereas I appreciate the clever banter about this topic, there are 2 points I would like to make. PBMs are vendors. They are hired by the companies to administer the plans set forth by said company or organization. They are not the evil organizations you feel they are because truly, they are simply just the messenger. There are literally 1000s of plans that a pbm deals with on a daily basis, and a small precentage of those are mandatory mail order. The client sets the rules, the pbm follows them. #2 it is interesting to me that out of all the people in new york affected by the new law, it excludes unions and self funded plans. Does anyone else find that interesting?

Jan. 20 2012 10:20 AM
jb from ny

he signed this bill!!!

Dec. 22 2011 09:29 PM
Dorothy from Not in Kansas anymore

Lets go Ammo. We have a great Governor lets hope he does pass this bill for the benefit of all Pharmacists,employees & the people of NY. I am optimistic he will.

Dec. 08 2011 10:51 PM
Dorothy from Not in Kansas anymore.

This Bill will never pass. Politicians need to get re elected to do that they need money. Thus Big donations have the Governor's ear. Its a great bill It should pass for all the right reasons but it won't. Thats what I hear. By the way all of you "little people" and your thousands of employees please remember to cast your future vote for the person who protects your interests.

Dec. 08 2011 12:32 AM
Ellen from Sherburne, NY

I like having a pharmacists that knows me by name and knows my family history. I do not want to have use mail order. I have heard stories of people in our area that do not get their drugs on time. I like the small town touch and hate big business!!!!!!! Please hurry and sign the bill Governor Cuomo

Nov. 29 2011 03:40 PM
SHAHAB AHMED from Woodbury,NY

Thanks to all State Senators and Assembly members for approving AMMO bills. CVS/Caremark are not permitting patient to fill their high priced and Injectables drugs( Chemo/Arthritis) to local pharmacies.They are becoming corporate monster or mafia in pharmacy business.

Nov. 20 2011 09:32 PM
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Nov. 19 2011 03:55 AM
Lovin J

Governor Cuomo should sign the AMMO bill into law as soon as possible. This legislation will have a positive impact on ALL independent pharmacy owners, those who are not members of the state society, as well as those who are members; those who were active in working to get the AMMO bill passed, as well as those who stood by the sidelines.

Nov. 09 2011 11:47 AM
Boris Natenzon

This is exactly what the state needs now is to pass this bill. Everything that everyone in politics and constituents are complaining about is in this bill
Jobs,Jobs Jobs for New York by New York
Why are we sending jobs out of state when we specifically stated its not going to increase premium and will offer PBM competition. 5 billion dollars going to another state.
And the Mail Order facilities are putting drugs in kids hands by dropping off at the front doorstep.. If this dosnt pass I wonder who is in control of our GOVT.

Nov. 02 2011 11:23 AM

An almost unanimous vote by all of the elected lawmakers of New York speaks in itself that mandatory mail order is hazardous to our state’s economy, but most importantly to the health of our patients. Governor Cuomo should be a national leader and sign A.5502/S.3510 into law to bring freedom to New York’s patients and money back to New York’s economy which have both been forcefully stolen.

Oct. 26 2011 02:41 PM
Aya Hezzini from LIU - Brooklyn

I belive the AMMO Bill should be passed. Patients need to have freedom of choice on where they receive their prescriptions. Since AMMO legislation mandates "same copay - same price", there will be no increase in the cost of healthcare. Our main priority is the patient and therefore we should do everything possible in order to give them the best qualtiy of medication in ways that are easily available for them. Please pass the AMMO Bill.

Oct. 26 2011 12:52 PM
Kevin Morales from Queens, New York

I think that this bill should be made into law as soon as possible to give patients the choice of whether or not they should have mail-ordered prescriptions being filled out for them. Reasons as to why I support this is because this lessens the importance of a pharmacist in providing great care to the patients and explaining the drugs more thoroughly. Giving patients the choice to come to a local pharmacy and get their medications would help prevent delays in getting their medication. In my opinion, I think that it would be better to get one's prescriptions filled out in person rather than through mail-order because it does give the patient the opportunity to be fully informed on teh drugs they use and how to use their drug.

Oct. 26 2011 12:51 PM
Sharmin Amjad from LIU - Brooklyn

This legislation should definetely be made into a law. It gives people a choice between mail order and local pharmacies and. Although mail order medication may not always be cheaper, if it is it helps patients financially. For those who are unable to travel to their local pharmacies can benefit from this program.

Oct. 26 2011 12:47 PM
Poonam from Long Island. NY

This legislation should most definitely be signed into a law. It gives the patients the chance to have their medication delivered and it definitely will help with costs. It also helps those who cannot physically travel to pharmacies so they can benefit from this.

Oct. 26 2011 11:18 AM
Jaclyn Hess from NY

Although it is beneficial for the patient to determine whether or not they would like to go to the pharmacy directly or mail-order their prescriptions, it is also crucial to obtain counseling for the medications each patient is on. Without direct contact from a pharmacist there is a greater risk of error. I personally use mail-order prescriptions and have suffered because of them. My medication was split up weekly. I received a letter in the mail after being hospitalized for a condition, that my medication was mixed up. With mail-order prescriptions there is a greater chance of mishaps with medications. I don't believe this should be mandatory.

Oct. 26 2011 11:13 AM
Julia Rutman

I think that the AMMO shouldn't be passed because when the pharmacist can't counsel patients, there is more potential for errors. The pharmacist needs to see all the patient's medications and drug history to make sure there are no dangerous interactions. The local pharmacist is the best way to go because they can see the patient, helping them to save money in the long run on expensive hospitilizations due to drug accidents.

Oct. 26 2011 11:07 AM
Rana Ismail from NY

The patient should be able to choose. If one is comfortable with actual one on one with their local pharmacist, then they should not be obligated to follow the mail order regime.

Oct. 26 2011 10:53 AM
Amall Alatoli

The AMMO bill can save lives. Too many deaths have occured from patients having to receive their prescription drugs through mail order. Too may mistakes can occur. The AMMO is the best choice to solve the problem of patients being forced to recieve drugs through mail order. Please approve this bill!

Oct. 26 2011 10:51 AM
Yujing Xu from Brooklyn, New York

People should have the right to choose to fill their prescriptions in their community pharmacy instead of being forced into a mail order program. AMMO is a great bill that should be signed and supported. AMMO helps people save time from waiting for their medication in the mail. Moreover, when people are receiving their mail order drugs, they are not able to get one on one counseling from the pharmacist. It potentially increases the chance that people may misuse the drug. AMMO also has positive impacts on independent pharmacy owners. They can potentially expand their business and give them more chance to compete with chain pharmacies.

Oct. 26 2011 10:37 AM
Farzana Rahmaan from Brooklyn, New York

AMMO is a great policy that should be made into law. People today have to go through so much to just get a presciption filled, plus making them go through mail order companies to acquire their medication makes their lives more difficult with insurance regulations and what not. With what I've read about AMMO, people will get to go to their local pharmacy, which in turn helps more then just their health, it helps those local privately owned pharmacies that have to compete with major chains. Helping those privately owned pharmacies could even help the economy in general. Thus, in support of AMMO, it does not give as many restrictions to those that have prescriptions to fill, which helps everyone out.

Oct. 26 2011 10:24 AM
Zainub Hadi from LIU

AMMO mandatory mail order i snot good for retail pharmacy especially independent community pharmacy. Pharmacies even the NY state lose a lot of money which results in loss of jobs. There is a lot of politics involved in it too. These mail order companies make a lot of deals with politicians and drug companies.
Its a false assumption that mail order is always cheaper. However, mail order can cover mostly all medicines. Like there are some brand medicines that insurance will only cover through mail order and not retail (like some very expensive injectables).

Oct. 26 2011 10:20 AM
Jeannie Cen from Brooklyn, NY

I am currently a sophomore in college pursuing a career in Pharmacy. I totally agree with AMMO and believes it should be passed. With AMMO, medication given to patients is a lot more convenient and easier than ever. In addition, Pharmacists have less hectic times in the pharmacy, rushing to fill out a prescription and more time to counsel patients that come in with questions regarding the medication they received in the mail. This also allows less waiting time for patients and more time for helping them. AMMO is a win-win situation for both the patients and pharmacists--it should be passed!

Oct. 26 2011 10:19 AM
Toly L from Brooklyn

I am a currently a pre-pharmacy student who also works at CVS pharmacy. During my time in that pharmacy, I learned that sometimes some elderly customers find it difficult to travel to my pharmacy just to pick up a few prescriptions, they have very debilitating diseases that should not force them to exert themselves when a simple solution is available to them- AMMO. AMMO has the ability to save the elderly the effort and pain of traveling to a pharmacy with the ability to mail order the prescriptions to their homes directly, only requiring minimal work. Another benefit of this legislation is mail-order is virtually the same price as in a pharmacy. But AMMO does not force the customer to commit to either mail-order or pharmacy option, it gives you, the customer, a choice depending on what you feel is the best option for you.

Oct. 26 2011 10:11 AM
Jenny Yu from Brooklyn

I am currently studying at LIU robecome a doctor of pharmacy and I am in support of the AMMO bill. It will allow patients to choose where they get their meds. It is wrong for a mail order company to force a mandatory mail order. While mail order prescriptions may have its own benefits and consequences, patients should have a choice in how they get their meds. Passing the AMMO bill will allow more person to person counseling which is better than having a person call to counsel.

Oct. 26 2011 10:08 AM
Yang Li

I am a sophomore in college per suing a Pharm.D. degee. I think the AMMO will be effective because it gives consumers a choice of where to get their prescription filled. AMMO not only satisfies consumer needs but it also saves money for people. It will be successful because many people will support it.

Oct. 26 2011 09:37 AM
Xiao Zheng from Brookyln, New York

I agree that the people should have the right to choose between local pharmacy and mailing order. We should be in charge of our own lives, not the government and the insurance companies. We should not required to wait for our medications to be mail to us. Moreover, mailing order RXs is not always cheap. Jobs are also lost because of mailing order. Overall, mailing over is not an effective way for us to get out medications and we the people should have the right to choose.

Oct. 26 2011 09:28 AM
Ayan from Brooklyn, NY

Privately owned pharmacies should have the right to run successfully. In addition, after OBRE 90, it is the right of a patient to get counseled by a pharmacist one on one to understand the specifics of the medications. Patients having their medications mailed is impersonal. Furthermore, if a prescription is mail ordered, it must have very detailed and bold print instructions on drug usage and warnings. Private chains should be connected to their community and mail order should not block the pharmacist from their community.

Oct. 26 2011 09:14 AM

AMMO bill should be supported because patients shouldn't be required to wait endlessly for their mail deliveries to get their medications. In addition, retail independent pharmacies will no longer suffer in competition with the mandatory mail order programs.

Oct. 26 2011 01:19 AM
Sarah Qaiser from NY

I hope the Governor signs the AMMO Bill because a patient should have their choice. They shouldn't be forced upon mail orders where there is nobody to counsel them. Patients need to be counseled to make sure they are taking the right medicine at the right time. We need Pharmacists to answer any questions about the medication when we go to pick up the medicines, not when we are at home. We shouldn't call and wait for several minutes hoping that somebody will pick up this time and get questions answered. We need service right when we get the medication in person at pharmacies, not through mail orders. We need to make sure we take the right medication. The AMMO Bill must be signed and passed for our own safety.

Oct. 26 2011 12:57 AM
Wai In Lim from Brooklyn, NY

I agree with the AMMO bill because patients should be the ones that make the decisions where they want to fill their prescriptions. Signing the AMMO bill will bring benefits to both patients and pharmacists at the same time. Patients can speak to local pharmacists about their medications or health concerns in person. There will also be more counseling to the patients to reduce any potential risks and side effects, rather than staying on the phone waiting for a person who might not be a pharmacist to speak to you. Pharmacists can also benefit because they would not lose their jobs and they can help more patients. Therefore, having mandated mail order is not effective at all.

Please sign the AMMO bill!

Oct. 25 2011 11:25 PM
Wai In Lim from Brooklyn, NY

I agree with the AMMO bill because patients should be the ones that make the decisions where they want to fill their prescriptions. Signing the AMMO bill will bring benefits to both patients and pharmacists at the same time. Patients can speak to local pharmacists about their medications or health concerns in person. There will also be more counseling to the patients to reduce any potential risks and side effects, rather than staying on the phone waiting for a person who might not be a pharmacist to speak to you. Pharmacists can also benefit because they would not lose their jobs and they can help more patients. Therefore, having mandated mail order is not effective at all.

Please sign the AMMO bill!

Oct. 25 2011 11:23 PM
Sally Liang from NY

I am in support of the AMMO bill because a patient's health and satisfaction ahould be taken into account when mandating mail order presciptions. Patients might not feel comfortable talking over the phone about their questions or concerns. Most importantly, there is no guarantee that this mandatory mail order system is perfect. A patient can receive the wrong medication as a result of mail order, so why go in that direction when errors can be prevented by going directly to the pharmacy?
People should have the right to choose how they get their medications. Please sign the AMMO bill.

Oct. 25 2011 10:50 PM
Mia Chan from NYC

Personally, I agree with Anti Mandatory Mail Order (AMMO).The field of pharmacist is already very saturated, the Mandatory Mail Order would greatly reduced the market of pharmacist. Also, The Mandatory Mail Order has placed the patients at risk. It's because many times the patients' treatments are being delayed as they wait for their prescriptions to arrive in the mail, which has a big impact on the patient’s health. Besides, there's a risk that is a wrong prescription is given to a wrong person. This could lead to a serious problem. Somebody has died because of this issue. Thus, the practice of Mandatory Mail Order should be reconsider. Moreover, there's an important step that can't be performed if Mandatory Mail Order is practiced, which is COUNSELING.

Oct. 25 2011 09:07 PM
Tanveer Hussain from Dutchess County.

We are reminded every day in media as well as other places that this is a free country where people are free to choose that they want to do or live as. This quality makes us different from many third world countries that we are trying to change. So WHY is this previlege being taken away from people, why are they trying to mandate mail order pharmacy ???

Oct. 25 2011 12:56 PM

I support the AMMO bill because patients should not have to wait to get their medications delivered to them or wait on the phone to talk to someone about their medications. Local pharmacists care about their patients and would know about their health history. Sometimes, it would be easier for patients to talk about their health concerns to local pharmacists than to some stranger over the phone.

People should have a choice between mail order pharmacies and local pharmacies. Please sign AMMO.

Oct. 24 2011 11:00 PM
manar romhen from NY

Patients should have the choice of receiving their medication from local pharmacies and mail orders, where they make their own decision.

Oct. 23 2011 10:49 PM
manar romhen

Patients should have their own choice of receiving their medication from local pharmacies or by mail orders.

Oct. 23 2011 10:43 PM
Sarah from New York

I’m a future pharmacy student and based on discussions held in class and everyday life, I support the AMMO bill. A lot of patients depend on life supporting medications and mail order doesn’t seem very reliable. Medication can get lost, delivered incorrectly or even be the wrong one. A patient should receive their medication from a reliable source and be entitled to the option of mail order. Overall, mail order doesn’t seem like a good idea because there are way more drawbacks then benefits.

Oct. 23 2011 09:15 PM

we do not want mail order it is killing small business very bad

Oct. 23 2011 02:02 PM
Judy from New York

I am studying to become a Pharmacist and my Professor-Professor Schiffer has brought up the issue of AMMO.

Forcing people to get mail orders is not only wrong but it goes against the freedom that our country is based on. How is it considered freedom if people are FORCED to get prescriptions through the mail? They should be able to choose which ever they prefer according to their situation.


Oct. 23 2011 01:32 PM
Andrea Pavlou from New York

As a future pharmacist, I agree that the AMMO bill should be passed. The people getting the medicine will have a choice of where they get it from. Some people do not want to wait for their mail order to come, they would feel more comfortable picking up their medication and speaking to a pharmacist. Mail order medication makes the customer miss out on that pharmacist/patient relationship. People feel more comfortable having a face to face conversation with their pharmacist about any problems they have with their medication.
In addition, if the bill is passed more pharmacists will be able to keep their jobs at local pharmacies. Soon, pharmacists will not be required in local pharmacies if everything is through mail order. It will be in the economies best interest to pass this bill.

Oct. 22 2011 11:59 AM
evelyn nyc from nyc

I work at a local retail pharmacy and many people always compalin about mail order. i think people should have a choice and not be forced into something.Freeedom of choice thats the american way.

Oct. 21 2011 05:28 PM
Gary Paul Gilbert from Jackson Heights, Queens

I am posting this again because it did not post the first time.

A05502B would give consumers the right to purchase prescription drugs
at their neighborhood pharmacies with the same copayments as through
the mail. The bill is important for senior citizens and the
chronically ill, such as people living with HIV, who may need more
attention from pharmacists than they can get over the phone.Currently,
such patients must consult their local pharmacists when their mail
order drugs have not come in on time. The local pharmacists must phone
the insurance companies to give a few pills to the patients, with
little economic incentive to fill in the gaps of mail order. The bill
can also help to keep drugs out of the hands of youth because mail
order encourages patients to order big quantities, some of which may
lie around on doorsteps waiting to be taken by youth. This is a
wasteful system because the pharmacy benefit mangers encourage people
to order more pills than they might need. It protects senior citizens,
people with HIV, youth, and the environment.

This is not only a good bill but is popular and enjoys bipartisan
support. t. A05502B passed the Assembly with only one No vote, and it
passed the Senate with only two No votes. Democrat Carl Heastie
sponsored it in the Assembly and George Maziarz in the Senate. It had
many cosponsors from both parties. Governor Cuomo should accept the
decision of the representatives of the people and sign it when the
legislature sends him the bill.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Oct. 21 2011 12:02 PM
Jamie Branshaw from Oswego NY

Ammo gives the consumer freedom of choice to choose who will dispense and counsel on their prescription needs.

No longer is it a rare occasion that a consumer complains about being forced to utilize a mail order company.
No longer is it a rare occasion that a consumer is forced to purchase a 10 day supply of medication, while waiting for their mail order supply to arrive.
No longer is it a rare occasion that consumers make the difficult choice to pay a discounted cash price, and forgo their insurance benefits, rather than deal with the difficulties that mail order brings with frequent delays and routinely changing generic manufacturers.

I have had to hold off on expanding my retail pharmacy department due to the mandatory mail order effect utilized by several of our local employers. With our local economy struggling, it is difficult to watch NYS donate $5 billion annually to out of state mail order pharmacies, money that should be spent at the local level, and kept in the local communities.

I urge Governor Cuomo to give retail pharmacy a chance to compete with Mail Order, and allow the consumer freedom of choice. Please sign AMMO.

Oct. 21 2011 11:29 AM
John B. Simkins

I am darn mad that my insurance for prescriptions drugs mandates that I use their own mail order pharmacy. They often make mistakes in sending my heart medication, and it takes forever to receive my medication. Why can't I use my local independent pharmacy that knows me and helps me with my illness?

Oct. 21 2011 10:04 AM
william nyc from nyc

I strongly support this legislation.People should have the right to choose where they fill their prescriptions.Retail pharmacy is a vital part of the community and will always be.

Oct. 21 2011 09:39 AM
brian bartle from bartles pharmacy oxford,ny

i only hope and pray that operation ammo is signed into law. i am sick and tired of losing patients to mail order pharmacy. when ever plans change and the patient has a choice most of them come right back to me with multiple complaints including not being able to ask their pharmacist about their medications, etc. it fragments patient care and puts the patient at risk.this would alleviate many problems and has the potential to reduce costs if i am allowed to practice pharmacy properly

Oct. 21 2011 07:57 AM
Gary Paul Gilbert from Jackson Heights

A05502B would give consumers the right to purchase prescription drugs at their neighborhood pharmacies with the same copayments as through the mail. The bill is important for senior citizens and the chronically ill, such as people living with HIV, who may need more attention from pharmacists than they can get over the phone.Currently, such patients must consult their local pharmacists when their mail order drugs have not come in on time. The local pharmacists must phone the insurance companies to give a few pills to the patients, with little economic incentive to fill in the gaps of mail order. The bill can also help to keep drugs out of the hands of youth because mail order encourages patients to order big quantities, some of which may lie around on doorsteps waiting to be taken by youth. This is a wasteful system because the pharmacy benefit mangers encourage people to order more pills than they might need. It protects senior citizens, people with HIV, youth, and the environment.

This is not only a good bill but is popular and enjoys bipartisan support. t. A05502B passed the Assembly with only one No vote, and it passed the Senate with only two No votes. Democrat Carl Heastie sponsored it in the Assembly and George Maziarz in the Senate. It had many cosponsors from both parties. Governor Cuomo should accept the decision of the representatives of the people and sign it when the legislature sends him the bill.

Oct. 20 2011 09:19 PM
Leslie from Wisconsin

You have our support in WI! The wool has been pulled over consumer's eyes for long enough. Let's do what's right for the consumer--even if they all don't realize it yet!

Oct. 20 2011 05:12 PM

Governor Cuomo should sign the AMMO legislation. He should heed the advice of his NY pharmacists, members of one the most trusted professions for many years.
Pharmacists talk with and listen to their patients every day, they know them and their medication needs. Pharmacists interact with PBMs on a daily basis, we know they contribute nothing to the improvement of our patients healthcare, and they add billions of dollars to the cost of healthcare. PBMs are unregulated by anyone and use fraud and deception
in promoting their claims to lower the costs of prescription medications to the insurance plan sponsor. There is no proof that mail order pharmacies, owned by the PBMs, can deliver a product to the patient at a lesser total cost than that product can be purchased at the local community pharmacies.
Governor Cuomo, become a champion for the citizens of New York, give them the right to choose; sign into law the AMMO legislation..

Oct. 20 2011 05:02 PM
Marcie from Long Island NY

We see many patients everyday with issues regarding their mail order drugs. One woman had medications delivered that were substitutes for her regular brands, it was different shapes and colors. She called the mail order and when she finally got a person on the phone to speak with, she stated her issue and the response was, "We cannot see what you have in your hand, go down to the local pharmacy and they will help you".
Another customer had been forced to receive prescriptions thru the mail for her child. After some time, the doctor discontinued the medication. The customer called the mail order and cancelled the prescription. A few weeks later, the medication came in the mail. The mail order charged the credit card $70.00 for the copay. When the customer called the mail order company, they could not find any record of the cancellation. They asked the mail order if the meds could be returned and were told 'no'. This is just one example of the huge amount of waste that we see. Another customer had a diagnosis of COPD and came into the pharmacy breathing rapidly. The pharmacist could see that they were having difficulty. They started to talk and the pharmacist discovered the patient's confusion with the prescribed regimen, realizing that the person was not taking their medication properly. After counseling, the patient was able to understand how to take the medication, and, probably, averted a hospitalization. Although there have been no studies done regarding the costs of unnecessary hospitalizations or illness with regard to incorrect meds or compliance, local pharmacies may have a huge impact on savings to our health care system. Local pharmacies should be an important part of the health care team as they are the experts in their field! They are the watchdogs for many instances such as the above. You never hear about them, because they are averted crisises. Please Gov. Cuomo, consider our input, save significant dollars and suffering, and sign our AMMO legislation. Thank you.

Oct. 20 2011 03:11 PM
Jim Fields from Fort Smith, Arkansas

Arkansas support is with you New York...please pass this bill...the outcome will effect us all...

Oct. 20 2011 10:45 AM
john from coram

Consumers need to have freedom of choice on where they receive their prescriptions. Far too many times they go without their medicine because the mailman has not showed up with their medicine. Give the consumer the chance to use their local pharmacy and speak to a pharmacist in person.

Oct. 20 2011 10:10 AM
Miller Young from Averill Park, New York

It's amazing to see the growing number of patients who come into our pharmacy who are dissatisfied with mail order. We get complaints of how their mail order pharmacy misplaced their prescriptions, not arriving on time, staying on the phone too long before talking to a representative, etc. The worst of it, is that they do not have a choice of choosing a local pharmacy because of this mandatory mail order the PBM's enforce. Please sign this bill for the future of New York and let us choose which and whom we get our healthcare needs from.

Oct. 20 2011 09:35 AM
Steve from Gasport, NY

Why should these very profitable middlemen be allowed to "mandate" self-referral? They coerce, market and force patients to "choose" their pharmacy, rather than allow free choice to access a valuable health care professional in their community. The savings are not there. The waste inherent in mail- order schemes is overwhelming. The "discounts" offered are off of much higher prices than those available in our local pharmacy. The PBM's seem to violate HIPAA laws by marketing their services to me, based on my private health information. Governor, Please sign this bill. It is very necessary!

Oct. 20 2011 09:35 AM
Adam from Bronx

Patients, pharmacists, physicians, and those concerned with the state of healthcare in New York have detailed below, in length, the myriad of reasons as to why the AMMO bill needs to be passed.

I'm just wondering if anybody from the insurance/mail-order industry can give a reason as to why this should NOT be passed? The only stated reason so far has seemed to be that costs would be increased, a "fact" that has proven to be unsubstantiated and baseless.

So why, insurance/mail-order companies, why should AMMO not be passed?

The passing of this bill would clearly be to the benefit of the patients, job market, fiscal well-being, and most importantly the health of the citizens of New York.

Oct. 20 2011 09:04 AM
Roa E

AMMO is a great way to expand private pharmacies and eliminate errors that occur as a result of mail-order.If mail orders were to be mandated it would put pharmacies at risk. I believe patients should have the choice of whether to receive their medications straight from the Pharmacy, whether it's a chain or independent pharmacy or by mail-order. Also mail-orders take longer to arrive than if a person were to go to their neighborhood pharmacy. Patients should be able to choose which system is most convenient for them. After all, the patient's health is the #1 priority and whatever suits them best is the way they should go,whether it's mail order or their local pharmacy.

Oct. 19 2011 10:04 PM

Noone should be forced to use mail order. Let the free market decide these issues. Also, I've not been able to find a study where mail order does save money! Let the independents have a chance to compete.

Oct. 19 2011 05:00 PM
Steve from TRENTON, NJ

Mail order? People who think they're going to save a few bucks are in for a rude awakening. My family owns an independent pharmacy in Trenton NJ, and we have seen a steady flow of former customers return to us, looking for help solving their mail order issues. We see customers who's mail order prescription came with an open bottle (and pills mixed together in their envelope), they receive medicine they didn't request, and we see people come to us because they never received their order. It should also be noted that once mail order "fills" your prescription, they lock out other pharmacies from billing for the same prescription. That means, the customer is just plain out of luck. Additionally, mail order companies IMO are guilty of gross fraud. You see, when people receive damaged goods from mail order, the local pharmacy is advised by the mail order company that we MAY be able to override the rejection for billing by using a code that states the person's medicine has been "lost or stolen," even when that's not the case. What does this mean? It means the the PBM gets paid twice for the same prescription, even though THEY shipped a defective product. Last but not least, try cancelling your mail order and you are directed through a maze of obstacles that will keep you on the phone over an hour.

Oct. 19 2011 03:32 PM
Steve from TRENTON, NJ

Mail order? People who think they're going to save a few bucks are in for a rude awakening. My family owns an independent pharmacy in Trenton NJ, and we have seen a steady flow of former customers return to us, looking for help solving their mail order issues. We see customers who's mail order prescription came with an open bottle (and pills mixed together in their envelope), they receive medicine they didn't request, and we see people come to us because they never received their order. It should also be noted that once mail order "fills" your prescription, they lock out other pharmacies from billing for the same prescription. That means, the customer is just plain out of luck. Additionally, mail order companies IMO are guilty of gross fraud. You see, when people receive damaged goods from mail order, the local pharmacy is advised by the mail order company that we MAY be able to override the rejection for billing by using a code that states the person's medicine has been "lost or stolen," even when that's not the case. What does this mean? It means the the PBM gets paid twice for the same prescription, even though THEY shipped a defective product. Last but not least, try cancelling your mail order and you are directed through a maze of obstacles that will keep you on the phone over an hour.

Oct. 19 2011 03:31 PM
Doug H. from Michigan

Pharmacies exist to protect the patient from potential allergy and drug interaction problems. Using more than 1 pharmacy increases the risk of allegic reactions and drug interactions. People deserve the right to protect themselves by utilizing ONE pharmacy for ALL of their medications. This is a patient SAFETY issue. If mandatory mail order is allowed consumers lose the ability to protect themselves. This is a no-brainer. Pass the bill.

Oct. 19 2011 11:20 AM
Margaret A. Droman from Middleport, New York

I am over 80 years old and trust my local pharmacists only. My prescriptions are filled immediately and delivered if needed within two hours. This is the best service - we do not want to lose local control.

Oct. 19 2011 11:00 AM
nadirshah daredia from Bronx, NY

I am a NYS registered pharmacist. If the governor signs this bill it will be single biggest win for consumers, community pharmacies and employers. Consumers will win because they will have access to their trusted pharmacist on a regular basis not some distant no name pharmacist who does not know your medical history. Pharmacies will win because it will help keep business local and generating local jobs. Employers win because local pharmacies use higher percentage generics thereby saving money. It remains to be seen if Gov Cuomo goes with what is best for constituents or lobbyist who spread rumor about increasing cost with this legislation. Can someone answer- since when increased competition leads to higher cost? and how could a middleman save you more money? Not signing the bill will lead to victory for insurance companies who own mail order companies. Lets hopo common sense prevails. I would like to believe that the governor represents people and not the lobbyists. Sign the bill which was overwhelmingly passed by the legislature.

Oct. 19 2011 10:40 AM
PETER WOLFE RPh from Louisiana

In Nashville this past week a session with three x PBM employees stated that very rarely are PBMs checked by their clients to prove that they are delivering the savings that are promised in their contracts. PBMs are attempting to destroy the patient/ pharmacist relationship that exists because of many years of ethical, professional, trusted service to improve and care for their health. Give our patients the right to choose their pharmacist just as you would let your mother choose her pharmacist. Sign the bill and you will make a lot of people happy and healthy. Read the comments its sickening to think we have allowed this to happen in America.

Oct. 18 2011 11:25 PM
S Hiemenz from Naperville

Mail order is not cheaper for everyone; it is not always the best choice for every patient and it should never be allowed to be mandatory. Mail order pharmacies remove dollars and jobs from local economies with predictable results. Health care today is a land grab - just lock up as many patients as you can and quality doesn't matter. We have been chasing pharmacy costs for 30 years with no success. When will we learn that dollars and lives will be saved when the patient and the pharmacist have a face to face relationship? Don't make the same mistakes we have made in Illinois!

Oct. 18 2011 09:03 PM
Tammy Haseley

I want to make the decision where I get my prescriptions filled. I don't think it is fair that I have a local pharmacy with great service in my hometown and I have to mail for prescriptions. I like to see and talk to who is filling my prescriptions. Thanks for considering.

Oct. 18 2011 08:17 PM

I must say reading all these comments that there are many valid points made. The financial ramifications are huge for everyone involved. Governor, if you do not sign this bill, please do not think about mentioning a decrease in the State's revenues because it will be you that could have prevented business being sent out of New York. I don't want to imagine the amount of jobs being unnecessarily lost in these already tough times. All the financial issues aside, it is the personal service one receives at the local pharmacy that no one can put a price on (do you really want to speak to a "Peggy" at the mail order's "customer service" ?). We all are already told what doctors we can see, what medical procedures we can have, what medications we can take. The insurance companies already dictate all these healthcare decisions. Now they want to tell us what pharmacy we have to use ? Really ?

Oct. 18 2011 08:10 PM
Nina Dynina

Nina Dynina R.Ph Brooklyn, NY
I work at an independent pharmacy and have been a pharmacist for 25 years. This bill needs to be passed so customers have a CHOICE where to get their prescriptions. The Govenor talks about job creation and keeping New Yorkers working. Passing this bill will do just that. We are only asking to be able to offer the same services to our customers which we have for many years.

Oct. 18 2011 07:59 PM
Jerry Davis from Colorado

It is amazing that the pbm's and the mail order pharmacies can continue to scam large employers and government into thinking they can deliver lower cost medications. They are in total control of price that they will pay, so how can it be cheaper to mail it?

Oct. 18 2011 06:51 PM
Jerry Mirra from White Plains, NY

As an owner of an independent pharmacy in NY, I relish the opportunity to compete with mail order pharmacies. BUT, let the playing field be level. The mail order pharmacies should not enjoy any advantage which channels business out of the State, destroying jobs, decreasing the tax base, and ultimately, depriving consumers of the choice of where to place their trust. This bill is good for NY State, and good for it's citizens.

Oct. 18 2011 06:16 PM
Amanda from Long Island

Working in an independent pharmacy this bill makes perfect sense. Why pull billions of dollars away from a local economy just to send it to some out of state facility? In this economy we need to stimulate economic growth locally in order to better help the big picture. Also many of our customers are being forced into having to mail away against their will. In order for them to do business with someone they know and trust why should they be penalized?

Oct. 18 2011 06:06 PM
Mike K from Clarksburg, WV

Look this is simple it should come down to a persons choice. Do you want to use a local establishment, or mail order? When did the corporate moguls begin being able to make these crutial decisions for people. It should be the end users choice, are they not paying for the services? What services are you getting from a mail order house?. My experience is none, no one to talk to no one to answer questions about medications, copays, etc. This medication was stopped by my doctor why did you send it??? Hmmm still waiting on the answer. but none the less the copay was still collected. How safe are 100+ or subzero temperatures??? How many jobs will be lost in NY or across the country because of mandatory mail order??? New York has the stage and can be the first proving ground. When did we lose our freedom of choice??? Why should someone tell me or anyone else where I should get my medication. How many Mail order houses support local charities, sporting teams, high schools etc????. The point is we need small businesses and small businesses need us the consumer. Why or how can or should this be taken away from me or any other person ? Governor Cuomo the ball is in your court. Do you side with corporate america or the small businesses that have for years supported and made us who we are?

Oct. 18 2011 06:00 PM
Travis from NC

NY do the right thing and support your citizens, the local economy, and the pharmacy profession say no to mandatory mail order.

Oct. 18 2011 05:39 PM
Katherine L. Chase

The legislation passed enables patients to choose local pharmacies as well as mail order, with no increase in cost to the patient or health plans. PBMs employ anti-competitive tactics such as mandatory mail order thereby blocking out out independent pharmacies. The thought that mail order is ALWAYS cheaper is incorrect. PBMs generally operate with no transparency for their clients, and now want to capitalize on the large increase in generic prescribing practices, thereby making enormous profits. They shield this fact by claiming proprietary information.
This is good legislation and should be signed into law.

Oct. 18 2011 05:38 PM
Ira Erenberg from CA

Re: AMMO Legislation
Please support the AMMO legislation and small business. Don't be hood-winked by the lies spread by the PBM lobby, they are not cheaper. Just imagine a time when all outpatient pharmacy is mail order...How soon do you think it will take for the PBM/Mail order folks will demand outrageous prices?

Oct. 18 2011 04:59 PM
Jim Cooper from Saugerties N Y

I would rather get my scripts filled locally they are like family to me

Oct. 18 2011 04:42 PM
Christine Dituri from farmingdale

This would be a win for all New Yorkers, and would save jobs for N.Y. Corporate America does not equal good medicine.

Oct. 18 2011 04:09 PM
james from Kentucky

Consumers own their decisions along with the dollars they work so hard to procure. At the end of the day a Pharmacist's intervention can help 'save a life' and money when allowed to practice pharmacy. They are medication experts and removing them from practice is a disservice to the community and reduces any opportunity to better patient outcomes due to a "live" interview. With mail-order pharmacies coming online in the last 10 years we are seeing about 20-30% penetration of all Rxs yet we see premiums continue to rise, if you are thinking that medical costs outweigh here you are correct yet look at prescription only benefits simply to see how their costs continue to rise as well, mail is not the answer look at price caps on pharmaceutical manufacturers and outrageous lifecycle management techniques. The Pharmacy benefit comprises of about 7-9 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare and pharmacist interventions return a 12:1 Return on investment, why would anyone think mandatory mail is the answer for healthcare.

Oct. 18 2011 04:04 PM
Gene Basini from Suffolk County

If Governor Cuomo is serious about helping the local economy he will sign this bill. As the owner of an independent pharmacy on Long Island if I am able to begin filling the Rxs I've lost over the years to mail order I will have to double my help, buy more compter systems, increase my purchasing from my wholesalers etc. All of this I would gladly do in order to keep my store doors opened and allow me to continue supporting the local churchs,veteran affairs organizations,PTA, L:ittle League etc....Governor Cuomo sign this bill !!!

Oct. 18 2011 04:04 PM
Laura Moody RPH from Hopewell Junction NY

At the retail level we often see mail order packages left out in the excessive heat, freezing conditions, snow, rain etc. Most medications need to be stored at controlled room temperature. Usually the mail supplys are 90 days worth amounting to several thousand dollars in cost EACH. This "spoiled medication" is wasted and new medication is sent.

Oct. 18 2011 03:33 PM
Ashley Drewes from Saugerties, NY

Our local economies cannot afford to lose our small town pharmacies, especially now during our current economic crisis. Moreover, patients who realize the benefit of the human element in choosing their local pharmacy over mail order will, in time, be left without a choice at all when their local independent pharmacies are put out of business.

Oct. 18 2011 03:27 PM
Nicole Kowalczyk (Certified Pharmacy Technician) from Wappinger Falls, NY

We are involved in helping people dispose of unused and or unwanted medications. The entire process is disgusting in that we see literally large grocery bags full of wasted medications that are never even opened up. Occasionally we will try to calculate the dollar amounts disposed of and it is often in the tens of thousands of dollars. I consider this legislation very important on so many different levels.

Oct. 18 2011 03:19 PM
Peter Jo President of KAPhA, USA from Flushing, New York

I just came back from 16th Overseas Korean-American Pharmacists Symposium in New York and Canada. In the symposium, I shared AMMO New York legislation with 200 pharmacists from other states and Korea. Almost all pharmacists said they had many complaints from their patients mandated to use mail order. One pharmacist from Korea said that he can't believe America known as the icon of freedom allowed mandatory mail order. All pharmacists in the symposium said they hope Governor Cuomo make a right decision for all consumers.

Oct. 18 2011 02:50 PM
Jeff Papo from New York

Mail order undermines the entire purpose of the pharmacist. We are the only healthcare provider to give 'FREE' help and or advice 7 days a week and every day of the year in many cases.

Patients with any type of concern can walk into many pharmacies and get help. When a senior gets a new presciption in the mail with no face to face contact. Think about how a dispensing error would be handled mail away vs. a local pharmacy

Oct. 18 2011 02:45 PM
Travis from Franklin, IN

It simply amazes me that companies, especially government agencies, cannot comprehend the devastating effects of mandatory mail to there very own community. Why send all that money out of your local economy? Do you really believe your local economy will sustain itself? Check the numbers/data/stats/studies - it WILL NOT!
PBM are not forthcoming with their business practices with you - they make more money than you will EVER save using them. The PBM's have created an unfair playing field for profit, and NO ONE regulates them! If you don't pass this law, say goodbye to your local pharmacists!

Oct. 18 2011 02:33 PM
Neal Smoller from Saugerties, NY

I own two independent drug stores in Ulster County. This legislation is long overdue.

PBMs not only set the amount pharmacies are paid for drugs but encourage their enrolled customers to use THEIR mail order pharmacies. They bully providers into accepting bad contracts. We can't turn away the families we've cared for for generations!

Savings are NOT passed along to the consumer but to their shareholders.

Many of our medication take back programs show the truth: 80% of expired or unused medications are mail order drugs - measuring in the 1000s of dollars.

Imagine sending your medical records to a doctor out of state and receiving a diagnosis over the phone. Pharmacy care needs to be a face-to-face, personal interaction.

All this legislation does is give patients an option. An option that they should have to begin with. If mail order is truly a savings and as wonderful as the corporate giants say, people can make the choice on their own.

My patients have spoken and they would choose us given the opportunity. They would support the small businesses that keep this country moving!

Oct. 18 2011 02:28 PM
Steve Moore from Plattsburgh

PBM owned mail order pharmacies drive up the cost of prescription medication to line their own pockets. Pharmacists, in large part due to those working retail, were for years the most trusted professionals. It is time to bring those jobs and those professionals back to NY.

Oct. 18 2011 02:00 PM
W. Moose

Good Job New York. Get this one done so the rest of the country can follow.

Oct. 18 2011 12:23 PM

I would like to speak in favor of the AMMO bill. This bill affords every patient the right to choose the type of service they feel is more appropriate for them. It allows the patient to make a choice between having their medication mailed to their home or having their medication dispensed by their community Pharmacist on a face to face basis. The Pharmacy will bill the same price to the sponsor as the mail order company, therefore not increaseing costs. All it does is allow the consumer to make a choice in regard to the delivery system they prefer,Mail or Community. This legislation is extremely important both to the Community Pharmacy and the Consumer. Every consumer should have the right to choose.
Therefore I urge the signing of this bill which was overwhelming passed by both houses.

Oct. 18 2011 11:25 AM

I would clarify several items here.
1. mail order pharmacies are owned by the very insurance companies who process the claims. Will the goal be to make money for the company or save the sponsor money. They are not the same, they cant be. Money is generated at the mail order level from brand rebates generated by market share cultivation. This is why brand dispensing happens more often in mail order.
2. Retail pharmacies have a higher dispensing rate of generics than brand vs mail order competitors.
Now two questions.
1. Why would you deal through the mail if you ultimately did not save money?
2. Why would you not want choice to deal where you want assuming cost are the same or better.
Mandatory Mail order plans are not about health care, they are about capturing as many dollars as possible until the game they are playing is realized for what it is..... greed and deception.

Oct. 18 2011 11:05 AM
Joseph Navarra, R.Ph. from New York

I am an independent pharmacy owner and past president and chairman of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York. The AMMO legislation not only gives the patient the choice of where to obtain their medication, it will also ensure that the patient receives proper, timely healthcare. There are continuing times I can not fill a prescription for a pregnant patient or a patient came in because their 3 month supply of medication needed to be reconstituted with water or a transplant patient received a different brand or generic medication without any notice. All these things potentially being very detrimental to the patients’ health and possibly costing the system more than there needs to be. If the patient had the choice where to obtain their medication, this wouldnot be an issue. This legislation is written to keep the same price and co-pay structure so there will be no increase or additional cost to the consumer or the employer. But with mail-order companies shipping medication every 3 weeks to a patient giving the patient a 13 month or more supply of medication every year, this practice will cost the consumer and employer much more than the controls in an independent pharmacy. As for the shipping of medication from out the State of New York, billions of dollars of business is lost to other states. This affects taxes and jobs that New York so desperately needs.
Giving the consumer their right to choose is not only good for the health of the consumer, but good for New York State in general.
Signing this legislation is great for the consumer, great for small business and great for the State of New York.

Oct. 18 2011 10:39 AM
D Marley from NC

This Bill is both pro-consumer and pro-small business. It is an often cited myth that mail order is cheaper.The PBM lobby and spin machine claims this Bill will reduce their ability to pass on savings obtained via economies of scale. What they are not telling you is that they HAVE NEVER and WILL NEVER pass those savings on to the employer or consumer. They use economies of scale to fatten their bottom line, not to save employers and patients money.

I recently had a customer move her drugs from mail order to my pharmacy because we were $120 cheaper on a 90 day supply of her seizures medicine than what the mail order facility was charging her. In this case she was using mail order for her HSA account. Had she continued to use mail order, she would had utilizing those funds 3 times faster than if she had been utilizing a local pharmacy. Bottom line, PBMs lie and can't be trusted!

Oct. 18 2011 10:38 AM
John Dickerson from Kentucky

Looks like NY might get it correct and other states can follow. We have patients that continually wait and wait on mail order. Only later end up with a stockpile of drugs when drug therapy has changed. There has been many times when a patient has visited with us in order to get things, "straighten out"... Only to realize they are taking Meds. that were no longer prescribed just because,"the doctor and mail-order would not have sent them if they didn't want me to take them!". I feel if a patient wants mail order and chooses mail order then they are able to help manange their therapy. Mandatory mail-order is NOT the correct answer for every patient. Where are the studies to show that... I know they are there but seem not to be published! I think we all know why!

Oct. 18 2011 09:57 AM
Chris Bowling from Barbourville, Ky

This legislation is not about Independent or Retail Pharmacy vs. Mail order pharmacy, this legislation is actually about patient rights and choice. Regardless of what the PBM industry wants you to believe, the patient is the ultimate payor in our current healthcare system, and they should have the right to choose where their medicines are filled. If they choose mail order, then so be it, but it should not be mandated that they do so. This, if any, is truly legislation for the consumer, and all NY pharmacists, and those in other states, should urge their patients to contact Governor Cuomo to sign this bill immediately. At no time in history has it been more apparent than now that peoples rights should come before corporate greed. The PBM industry will tell you that this bill will raise costs to the consumer and overall healthcare system, but soaring record profits for the big 3 PBM's, over the last 5 years should lead most to believe that they assume most of the responsibility for rising healthcare costs over that same period. Study after study, has shown that mail order does not save the healthcare industry money, as they dispense more costly brand name medications 15% more often than retail pharmacies. They do this, because of rebates from drug manufacturers, some of which can be astonishing, and this cost savings is not passed on to the consumer. Simple logic should convince most people that mandatory use of mail order facilities, owned by the same companies that are setting the requirements for where your prescriptions are filled, is indiscriminately anti-competitive in nature, and can only benefit that company and its shareholders. On a level playing field where costs to the patient are equal, as much as 80% of patients will choose retail brick and mortar pharmacies over mail order. Express Scripts, Medco, and Caremark know this, and that is why they began mandating the use of their own mail order pharmacies. It was the only way their plans to make profits off those facilities could work. PCMA and the PBM's are so adament about fighting this legislation and against transparency simply because it will expose their shadow games and cut into the profits that should be helping reduce overall costs to the healthcare system and the patients that need it!! Please call Gov. Cuomo today and encourage him to fight against the greed of Corporate America and sign this legislation that benefits consumers, not Wall Street. Its the consumers and patients that need the help the most. Independent pharmacies across the country strive to save patients money, and in the absence of tactics to increase profits by the PBM's, are successful 90% of the time.

Oct. 18 2011 09:39 AM
Vito Colombo from Middle Village,N.Y.

I own an independent pharmacy in Queens,NY where I grew up and still have many family and friends. We care for our patients and provide many unique services that mail away can't. This bill is for these customers. They have spoken and that's why the AMMO Bill made it past the senate and assembly with flying colors. But the PBMs have alot of money and power and alot of money at risk of losing and are spinning this any way they can to oppose this bill. The consumers have spoken, the Senate and Assembly have spoken now it's time for Governor Cuomo to do what's right for the people of New York and sign the AMMO Bill.

Oct. 18 2011 09:27 AM
Mark Artessa RPH from Marcy,NY

Please support the AMMO bill . Why not let New Yorkers have a choice in where to have their prescriptions filled. Forcing them to go mail order does not promote competition. Not only does forcing them to mail away take sales and jobs away from New York it hurts New Yorkers by losing jobs. In this economy we want to promote jobs within NY not lose revenues to out of state mail order houses. This country was built on a free market system that promotes free trade and competition. This is what brings down costs and creates a market. Monopolys like forced mail order should not be allowed to force people to get their prescriptions only by them. It won't hurt to let the consumer make the choices on where to get their medications.

If you only knew the horror stories that we hear every day from consumers about their experiences with the mail order houses. Last I checked we live in the United States and I thought we were entitled to freedom, freedom of choice. Let's not let mail order houses dictate where are consumers are forced to get their medications . Let's keep jobs and revenues and the freedom to do buisness where consumers have the right to choose, in New York State.

Oct. 18 2011 09:21 AM
P Patel from Huntington NY

Mandatory mail order is hated by patients,physicians and pharmacist. It is time for surgery to get rid of this cancer.

Oct. 18 2011 09:08 AM
Marc Brandell from New York, New York

Governor Como please sign the AMMO Bill.

The AMMO Bill is a good piece of legislation for New York State as shown by the overwhelming support and approval by both the House and Senate.
The bill would eliminate the monopolistic tact’s of the PBMs that dictate to their members as to where they can fill their prescriptions. The AMMO bill would give the citizens of New York a CHOICE as to where they could fill their prescriptions, either at their local community pharmacy or an out of state PBM owned mail order pharmacy. The AMMO bill would also keep jobs and around 5 BILLION DOLLORS annually in New York State.
This bill would level the playing field between local community pharmacies and the PBM owned mail order pharmacies. The level playing field would create fair competition. Fair competition will always keep prices low. Not to mention the bill will not cost the patient, the employer or the state any more money, in the long run it would probably save money for all.

The PBMs are opposed to this bill for fear of being exposed. The Mail Order Pharmacy model was introduced as a cost saving more efficient way of getting prescriptions to patients.
This is simply not true!
All Mail Order does is pad the bottom line of the PBM.
PBM Mail Order Pharmacy is not about good healthcare it is about wealthcare.

Lastly and probably most importantly the AMMO bill should be signed for the thousands of Mothers and Fathers in New York State that are turned away from their local community pharmacy being told that they can’t get their sons or daughters medications because they are mandated to receive their prescriptions from and out of state mail order pharmacy.

The AMMO bill is good for all of New York State

Oct. 18 2011 08:59 AM
Michael Coscia from Pelham, NY

The AMMO legislation offers Governor Cuomo the unique opportunity to address patients' needs while boosting New York's economy by preventing the mandatory mail order prescriptions from leaving New York pharmacies. It provides consumer choice while increasing competition with no increase in cost to the patient or healthcare system. Please sign this bill.

Oct. 18 2011 08:04 AM

When did the word "choice" become a dirty word? Do we have to give all of our choices away to monopolistic corporations? What's next? Getting our prescriptions from vending machines like Blockbuster DVDs?

Oct. 18 2011 12:52 AM
Mohammad Saleem from New York City

I strongly support this legislation "AMMO" it is going to provide choices to our patients to have their prescription filled at a local pharmacy verses waiting for prescriptions in mail and some times end up buying few days medication from out of pocket. This legislation would also help keep jobs in New York rather than creating or keeping the jobs in other states.In long run mail order pharmacy cost more to insurance then neighborhood pharmacy as local pharmacies only dispense medications on demand and do not fill discontinued medication automatically

Oct. 17 2011 10:47 PM
Jim Walsh from Depew, NY

As many have stated before me, this bill should be a no brainer. Of course talking politics, it seems most of it is a no brainer and yet most of it still doesnt happen. If the governor cant see a reason to sign this bill that passed in the senate 60-2 and in the assembly unanimously perhaps we are talking a different kind of no brainer.

This bipartisan bill increases competition which will help reduce costs to consumers. It saves jobs, and increases services that consumers can get locally instead of being forced to wait 2-3 weeks to get.
The only people that see any downside from this bill are the mail order companies who view any competition as a threat. If competition to them was not a threat, then whay make mail order mandatory instead of a consumers choice? Why are the large mail order companies busy buying out the small ones? To lessen competition so they can increase revenue for themselves. This bill needs to be sent to the governor ASAP, and needs to be signed the minute it comes before him if, as he says, he is really interested in lowering costs and preserving jobs here in NY State!

Oct. 17 2011 10:23 PM
Robert Warford from KY

This Bill is a NO BRAINER - surely the Governor of NY wants to keep JOBS IN his state and keep COSTS down on the overall burden of health care for our entire country.

I have one pharmacy where hi $$ meds are required to be filled in Florida.

This specific class of BIOLOGICAL Medicines are intricate and require detailed information and consultation. How can a Mail Order Pharmacy over 1000 MILES away offer better service than an In-Person pharmacist 10 miles away from the patient?

EASY - it simply CANNOT!!

Governor needs to sign this into law YESTERDAY.... if he doesn't (follow the green trail $$$) .... Get the calls into his office NY - Keep the Pressure on - the rest of the country is 100% behind you!!

Oct. 17 2011 09:45 PM
irene piker from Brooklyn NY

The mandatory mail order requirement puts my patients at a disadvantage. They are losing a vital service with a medical professional who is able to provide one on one consultation. They loose the ability to obtain pharmacy services from someone who is familiar with their medical history and can counsel these patients based on their specific needs. Instead, they get service from somewhere out of state, which does not help the local economy. There are no mail order facilities in the state on NY. Think of all the jobs that are lost. One of the pharmacists I employ part-time used to have a full time job in a facility that lost 70% of their business to mail-order. We have to stop these monopoly practices. Mail order has got to go!!!!!!

Oct. 17 2011 09:12 PM
Matthew Andrews from Louisville, KY

I own an independent pharmacy that has served the Louisville community for 50 years now. Every week now I learn of patients receiving letters in the mail from their PBM trying to get them to switch to mail order. Some of them are mandatory mail order and some are the patients choice, but some of my elderly customers are tricked into believing that they have to do mail order by these PBM's. I learn about these after the PBM's contact my patient's doctors and steal their prescriptions from me. They have no regard for all of the hard work and effort I have put in to building relationships with all of my patients and then just like that they are made to or tricked into switching to mail order. I hope this is passed into law and that other states follow. I love and treat each one of my customers as my own family and I know that I can take much better care of my patiens than someone else in a completely different state, that has never met them, could ever do.

Oct. 17 2011 09:10 PM

Occupy Wall Street is a good testimony to the effects of big business's stranglehold on our society and so called "mandatory mail-order" is another noose around our collective necks. The vestiges of Community Pharmacy still serve our communities, the poor neighborhoods, the immigrants, refugees, homeless. It's their only contact with a health care professional after the doctor or ER visit. They don't want or need mail-order anything! They need on-on-one attention at the pharmacy level. It costs no more via the community pharmacy...don't be fooled...FOLLOW THE MONEY! Call the Gov. and DEMAND HE SIGN THAT BILL, ASAP.

Oct. 17 2011 08:55 PM
Lisa Cordone from Rye NY

I am sadden and disturbed that we as consumer are having our right to choose who and where we fill our prescriptions taken away from us. Why? Mail order prescription is not cheaper or cost surfactant. In fact jobs are lost. Aside from the finacial aspect, there is also a personal experience that is lost when we use this means as a way of getting life saving medication. We loose the fact that we are humans and need a local pharmacist to help direct us, consult us and understand our medical needs. I know my local pharmacist has save my life! Would a mail order pharmacist do the same?

Oct. 17 2011 08:38 PM
terry perrone

If it costs the same why not give us the choice of going to our regular pharmacy

Oct. 17 2011 08:28 PM
Dan Stevenson

Mandatory mail order is a losing proposition. Customers HATE it. Money is not saved. Important interactions between patient and pharmacist are missed. Changes in therapy occur and much medication is lost. Any savings (if they are any) are then negated. Lets have a true open contest and allow consumers to choose which they prefer, assuming you keep the playing field level. Mail order loses 90 plus % of the time. Support your local people. Thanks Dan

Oct. 17 2011 07:50 PM
Richard Pinckney from Auburn, NY 13021

It is a struggle being an independent retail pharmacy in todays mail order PBM's. Over the years we have lost over 40 percent of our business to mail order pharmacy. My clients have voiced that they do not want mail order pharmacy and want the personal, face to face interaction with their pharmacist. More medication errors and improper useage has been caught in casual conversation with my customers than any phone interview would represent. Cost of healthcare is rising and it is primarily associated with the mail order pharmacies dictating what medications people receive. Have even had one mail order pharmacy that insists that the person get a 90days supply or wont fill my clients medications. My client cannot afford the 90day medication and therefore is going without. How is this saving our healthcare dollars as this person is in the doctors office more and the emergency room because basically they cannot stay healthy because mail order has made it impossible to afford the medication. Also have instances where insulin was left on porch from mail order pharmacy on a 5below zero temperature day. The insulin was actually frozen. How is that saving costs. These are all things that are completely outside the actual costs of medications which have been shown to be equally or less expensive at independent pharmacies. Pharmacist have the role to educate their patients on the proper useage and the proper procedure for taking medication according to their disease state. You cannot successfully do this over a phone interview. It must be done in person and must be continual with each filling of a clients prescriptions. Lets nip the mail order pharmacies whom are capitalizing on huge rebates checks in the bud and eliminate them. Make the PBM force mail order houses to play on equal terms with the retail pharmacy. If given the choice, it has been shown, the PEOPLE want to have the choice.

Oct. 17 2011 07:01 PM
G.Flacks from westchester

Local pharmacies have a better interaction with patients and it keeps the money generated in NY which means more jobs for people in NY

Oct. 17 2011 06:52 PM
Bhupen Patel from Yorkville, NY

AMMO is not onlly pro consumer legislation but also going to save a lot of jobs in NY state. I own 2 independent pharmacies for last 10 years and I have not found a single customer who likes mail order.They are using it because it is mandatory.All we are asking is giving choice to customers.

Oct. 17 2011 06:33 PM
Rachel from Middleport

As a recently-graduated pharmacist I am extremely frustrated with current health insurance policies that force my family members, neighbors and friends out of my pharmacy and into the mail order system. These patients are forced to receive suboptimal care, and areas where I could normally intervene for my patients (since I am familiar with my prescribers as well as their staff), I am now forced out of the picture. Not only are these nameless, faceless mail order companies putting the small town independent pharmacy that I work at (the ONLY pharmacy in town) out of business, but they are driving revenue out of NYS. Jobs are hard to come by in NY, but they're even harder to come by when you send over $5billion in prescription revenue out of the state- most of it coming from patients who would prefer to shop locally.
The anti-mandatory mail order bill is not looking to eliminate mail order all together. Some patients do prefer to have their medications mailed to them. This bill merely will give the local pharmacies a fair shot at treating the people in their community. It would eliminate penalties, higher copayments, etc when a patient chooses their local pharmacist over an automated voice message system. It would allow that 82 year old man to see his local pharmacist (the most easily accessible health care provider) on a monthly basis rather than forcing him to spend time trying to hear and understand how to work the automated system on the 800 number he has to call.
All this bill is asking for is fair business practice. This bill UNANAMOUSLY passed both the house and the senate. We're just waiting for Govenor Cuomo to sign it into law....and waiting.

Oct. 17 2011 06:09 PM
Michelle from Clinton, NY

Everyone should have the right to go where they want to get the prescriptions. If they chose to go mail order that is their choice but they should have the choice to walk into any pharmacy they choose to get a prescriptions filled.

Oct. 17 2011 06:04 PM
Diane from Long Beach

As a person who works in a local pharmacy and one who also was forced to use a mail away pharmacy, I see absolutely no benefit to using a mail away. For one thing I did not like the idea of having 90 days of medicine laying around the house. It was a tremendous burden to have to go to the doctor get a prescription then have to fax it to the mail away. This may not seem troublesome to some but let me tell you, when you have to mail away for asthmatic medication, and can't breath because it takes too long to receive it, it costs everyone more in the long run when you have to go to the hospital in an emergency. As for working in a local pharmacy for 25 years, I can tell you for certain, there is not one customer who wants another one of their rights removed from them. This is a Country based on Freedom. Everyday some of that freedom is taken away from us. We can't afford to lose this battle. Our President talks of job creation, well we should also leave the jobs people like myself have right now!

Oct. 17 2011 05:45 PM
Dhiren Patel, R.Ph from New York City, NY

Who does not believe in healthy competition ?
Who does not want more employment for New York State ?
Who does not want their medication to be filled by pharmacist whom they know ?
Who does not like to have choice of retail pharmacy to fill their prescriptions ?

& Finally

Who does not like the freedom to choose ?

I am sure that we all do !!!

I strongly support the AMMO Bill and requesting Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill to become a law.

Oct. 17 2011 05:41 PM

I have two young adult children with Cystic Fibrosis and I hate having to give up the customer service I get from my independent pharmacy when I am forced to use the mail order pharmacy so ordered by my insurance company. The expensive drugs have ended up at the wrong house and they sit outside all day while I am at work, advertising my families business. I am not asking for free medications, just the choice to spend the multitude of co-payments my way. We need to pass this legislation!

Oct. 17 2011 05:17 PM
Charles Ciaccio

I am a retail pharmacist working in New York state. I have owned pharmacies as well as being an employee pharmacist for both chain stores and independant pharmacies. The one thing that I have noticed in all the different communities is that people WANT A CHOICE as to where the can fill a prescription.The AMMO legislation is something that is good for all new yorkers as patients and as far as creating more jobs in the state.

Oct. 17 2011 04:46 PM
Rosemarie T. from Brooklyn, NY

i am a pharmacist and own a family run independant pharmacy. We pride ourselves for being able to service our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is important for this bill to pass so our customers will have the CHOICE of either mailing away or going to get their RXs filled right away. This is about the patient's right to make their own decisions about their healthcare needs. There is also the positive effect it will have on unemployment in NY State. This is probably the biggest obstacle right now for NY and this bill will bring JOBS back to NY state.
Please Gov. Cuomo sign our AMMO legislation for the people of NY State.

Oct. 17 2011 04:38 PM

I am a sixth year pharmacy student at St. John’s University. In school we’re taught that patient care is everything in this profession and since we abide by that creed, the patient is our priority. The thing is we wouldn’t be able to practice this teaching if retail pharmacies were to become obsolete, which is what blocking this bill would contribute to. Patient care would be down in the gutters. The trust between the patient and their pharmacist is not something that can be replicated by mailing a person their medication. Granted, some patients may find mail-order convenient and really, that’s great. But for the rest of the patient population that prefer to meet their pharmacist face-to-face, they should have the option of going to their local pharmacy and leaving their medications and thus, their lives in the hands of someone they trust.

Oct. 17 2011 04:33 PM

This legislation is All about patient choice. We have recieved many complaints about the strong arm tactics that these PBMs use to Force people to use their Wholly owned Mail order facility. I call it a facility and not a pharmacy because thats exactly what they are- warehouses with bare minimum staff. I urge Gov Cuomo to sign this bill into law as it will do two things
1. Give the patient free CHOICE and be cost neutral.
2. Create and Keep JOBS in NY.

Oct. 17 2011 04:32 PM

AMMO is consumer legislation. It gives people a choice between mail order and local pharmacies. Mail order Rxs are not always cheaper.
The PBMs are practicing monopolistic, trade-restraining methods
Around $5 billion in all mail order prescription business leaves NYS annually
There are NO mail order Rx facilities filling prescriptions in the entire state.
Jobs are lost to other states with mail order Rx facilities. AMMO legislation mandates "same copay - same price" - no increase in the cost of healthcare
AMMO legislation started due to the many complaints from patients mandated to use mail order.
Prices NEVER go up when competition is added to the mix --- we are going to provide competition to the PBMs' mandatory mail order & that will eventually lower prices.
Side by side comparisons on the price of generic drugs show that mandatory mail order is often more expensive than community pharmacy..

Oct. 17 2011 04:28 PM
Vincent Balancia

Local retail pharmacies provide services that are either unavailable or unmatched by mail order companies. We need to provide choice to consumers before all retial pharmacies and pharmacists become extinct.

Oct. 17 2011 04:24 PM
Bob Black from Holland Patent, NY

The ammo bill means life or death for independent pharmacies in state of new york. This will be a win-win for patient care and nys pharmacies. please Gov Cuomo sign the bill into law and $$ in NYS.

Oct. 17 2011 04:23 PM

AMMO is not onlly pro consumer legislation but also going to save a lot of jobs in NY state. I own 2 independent pharmacies for last 10 years and I have not found a single customer who likes mail order.They are using it because it is mandatory.All we are asking is giving choice to customers.

Oct. 17 2011 04:10 PM
William Scheer from bronx

I believe that if given a choice between mail order or their local pharmacy, most patients would readily choose their local pharmacy, as they would choose their local doctor over a video conference medical exam. When dealing with your health their are many questions and concerns that a real person in the neighborhood can answer better. The cost issue is smoke and mirrors,mail order is not always cheaper to the people paying the bill, not the members, but the company. This has been shown in numerous studies.
We are losing jobs and money that this state desperately needs by sending business to Arizona or some other state.
Again the matter is simple the same copay and the same price, volume buying does not come into it, pharmacies are willing to accept the same prices that the monopolistic patient benefit managers get.
Insurers do not need the idea of competition to increase costs, they constantly raise premiums.
Given a chance this competition will bring down the cost to consumers, studies have consistently shown that strange fact. We have been fielding the complaints from our patients to allow them to choose. Governor Cuomo should listen to the voice of the people.

Oct. 17 2011 04:01 PM
Michael Agovino

Beside being a bill in support of consumer choice,it is a victory for small business. The intent of the bill will not cost the consumer or the sponsor more money. It will keep business within the state of New York. Currently, the big PBM's (pharmacy benefit managers) DO NOT have facilities within the state of New York. I am urging Gov Cuomo to sign!

Oct. 17 2011 03:55 PM
sy from YORKTOWN 10598


Oct. 17 2011 03:50 PM
John Civitello from Plainview, NY

Patients deserve a right to choose who dispenses their medications. This legislation will put an end to the unfair trade practices imposed by the insurance companies and PBM's who steer all of their patients to mail order pharmacy under the guise of better price control. Our pharmacy charges are equivalent to these mail order companies and allowing our patients to use our pharmacy gives them a much better control of the medication management. All mail order pharmacies are outside of New York State, which takes jobs out of our state and pours revenue into these large mail order pharmacies which tradionally provide poor service due the the volume of prescriptions they fill daily, not to mention that they have no consideration for our patients. They are merely treated as clients forced to use their services no matter what. It should also be mentioned that many mail order pharmacies are owned by the insurance companies, which in my opinion, is a monopoly and extremely unfair trade practice. Govenor Cuomo, Please sign this bill!

Oct. 17 2011 03:09 PM
John Kranjac, Pharmacist from Jackson Heights, NY

This legislation is a PATIENT FREEDOM OF CHOICE issue, which BEGAN from the outcry of thousands of NYS PATIENTS who did not want to be FORCED to obtain their prescription drugs from mail order sources.

The PBMs (Pharmacy Benefit Managers) are
TAKING AWAY PATIENT FREEDOM OF CHOICE by FORCING PATIENTS to get prescription drugs from mail order facilities, in order to obtain outrageous profits for themselves (the PBM Express Scripts wants to buy the PBM Medco for 29 BILLION DOLLARS!) and NOT because they seek to provide a cheaper prescription drug alternative, as it has been REPEATEDLY shown that

Monopolies are ILLEGAL in this country because they restrict trade and prevent healthy competition between companies and thus are able to COMMAND and DICTATE policy and PRICING. This NEVER leads to a lower cost for goods and services.

The PBMs engage in monopolistic actions by FORCING PEOPLE to get prescription drugs from mail order facilities, because they are diverting business to themselves as they own the mail order facilities and thereby block healthy competition from other companies also willing to provide prescription drugs to patients.

In addition, because these mail order facilities are outside of New York State, approximately 5 BILLION DOLLARS of business goes out of this State!
That means 5 BILLION DOLLARS LESS that could have benefited New Yorkers!

FREEDOM is a word synonymous with the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
We do not live in a dictatorship!
Don’t allow these bloated, multi-billion dollar PBM companies to take FREEDOM away from us!

Governor Cuomo should sign this bill into law in order to allow his NYS residents the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE where they get their prescription medications as well as to keep BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in his state and to help reduce the cost of pharmacy benefits.

Oct. 17 2011 02:30 PM
cathy giruzzi from utica, ny

we, as american citizens, should be given a choice whether or not to have mail order prescriptions which is not for everyone. i we were forced to have mail-order by my husbands employer and it has not been an easy road. we have health issues, i being diabetic and have been insulin dependent with insulin being temp sensitive it poses a problem. not to mention our drugs now come from las vegas. so much for helping to keep new yorkers working! plus i like the option of seeing my medication before i pay for it. governor cuomo, please sign to pass this very important bill for the good of all new yorkers.

Oct. 17 2011 02:07 PM
Jackie L. from Herkimer, NY

I work at a local pharmacy in Central New York. There are many people who dislike being mandated to use mail order. We have heard negative comments on the pricing of mail order, and how they will just charge a credit card hundreds of dollars for a medication without calling to verify it with patient. There is not a personal relationship with the patient; for example, there are no phone calls made when a medication is not covered and switched to another drug. No avaliblility to consult a pharmacist one on one for questions or concerns. Or the mail order will automatically refill perscriptions that a patient would not need yet and end up with extra medication at the end of the year. The patient suffered only because they had to pay the copays for medication not needed. I think that the patients should be able to CHOSE whether or not they would like to use mail order. If the pharmacy is willing to match the pricing dollar for dollar why would that option not be avalible?

Oct. 17 2011 01:47 PM
vincent mazzamuto from Bronx,NY

The legislation passed grants consumers a choice of either using a local pharmacy or mailorder. After all, consumers were the catalyst in the rise of the AMMO bill. Many are upset at the notion of being mandated to use mailorder for some of the most critical medications.The notion that this bill will increase cost to both consumers and health plans is FALSE. AMMO legislation mandates "same copay-same price" thus NO increase in the cost of healthcare.The arguments against this bill are just smoking mirrors employed by PBM's. This bill would bring significant dollars to our STRUGGLING state who sees 5 BILLION dollars in mail order prescription business leave annually along with many jobs leaving as well. But most importantly, it gives people a choice they never had before.

Oct. 17 2011 01:41 PM
Michael Paganelli from Bronx

Mandatory mail order pharmacy is taking the "care" out of health care, not only does it circumvent the pharmacists role in providing counceling and information to the patient, the very idea of it it blatently disregueards the need for a community pharmacist. The facts are that mail order is not cheaper, they are less accurate and have no accountability when mistakes are made. Mail order rxs are often lost or late in the mail and community pharmacies are left to fill partial prescriptions to "cover" the mail orders inequities. Mandatory mail order is not a viable option for most people. Patients need a choice to go where and when they want to get their prescription medications.

Oct. 17 2011 01:38 PM
Bradley Arthur from Buffalo NY

The Anti-Mandatory Mail Order Bill is pro consumer, pro health care saving, and pro "fairness". The Governor should sign this bill immediately and recognize how the large PBM industry has taken complete advantage of the health care marketplace, to the detriment of patients!!!

Oct. 17 2011 01:35 PM
Jack Koford from Buffalo

No question that the gov. should veto this bill: 1. We need to ship more jobs out of state (mail order pharmacies) 2. We need to limit competition because that always results in lower prices. 3. We need to increase the amount of waste resulting from 3 month Rx supplies after Rxs were changed. 4. Consumers don't deserve choice- it should be left to corporate HR directors.

Oct. 17 2011 01:17 PM
Todd Voelkl

The AMMO bill seeks to level competition between all pharmacies for New York residents. Mailorder pharmacies use predatory tactics and create an unfair environment for prescription customers by penalizing consumers for patronizing the pharmacy of their choice.
This bill also is good for the state to keep jobs and revenue here by supporting business in consumers own communities.

Oct. 17 2011 01:13 PM
Mark from Old Bethpage

The AMMO Bill should be signed by the governor so the patients can finally fill prescriptions where they choose to, not where they are told by the PBMs. This would open up a level playing field for all pharmacys in New York to compete for the pharmacy business, and finally a bill that if passed will bring back many jobs to New York.

Oct. 17 2011 01:06 PM
richard zalewski

community pharmacies are looking for a level playing field here. if mail order is such a good idea why do the pbm,s find it necessary to FORCE people into using it?it is not less expensive, it is not more convenient, it is not in the best interest of the patient. it drains billions of dollars from local economies thruout our state.patients, consumers, customers should have a clear & fair we want another "too big to fail" situation ?

Oct. 17 2011 01:05 PM
Judianne Slish from Rochester NY

This is a win win for NY and our patients. Sign!!!!

Oct. 17 2011 12:58 PM
Anthony Chiffy from New Hartford, NY

Our Country's economy was built on competition. If we can compete with mail order pharmacies than the only winner is the consumer. How is that bad?

Oct. 17 2011 12:52 PM
Tanveer from Dutchess County, New York

1. AMMO gives consumers a choice between mail order and local pharmacies where they can take advantage of free counseling & other important informations.
2. Mail order Rxs are not always cheaper as they claim and safer, mailing storage & handling can be riskier.
3. What happened to the thought of buy local & spend local ideas to support the local businesses. Mail order is nothing but the greed. Around $5 billion in all mail order prescription business leaves NYS annually alone. NO mail order Rx facilities filling prescriptions in the entire state. Jobs are lost to other states with mail order Rx facilities.
4. Side by side comparisons on the price of generic drugs show that mandatory mail order is often more expensive than community pharmacy.
5. Mail order should not be legalized in NY State or any State, drugs are necessities for human health and this can harm the users eventaully.

Oct. 17 2011 12:38 PM
james femia from utica new york 13501

besides all the constant complaints from my customers about mandatory mail order besides ridiculous arguements about competatition raising costs(since when in the world does competing with another business increase costs-oh yea rite aid moves in across the street from me so my first move is to RAISE my prices!please give me a break on that one) it is UN-AMERICAN to not allow me to compete with another pharmacy for business! if i cant match mail order contract pricing so be it BUT I SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE THE CHOICE TO DO SO!

Oct. 17 2011 12:33 PM
Bob Matalia from E.Islip,NY

We, the community pharmacists, hear horror stories from our patients on a daily basis,that mail order pharmacy never sent their heart,diabetes, MS, or other life saving medications on time.Patients run out of their medications and become frantic and upset, which in turn worsens their medical conditions. The Anti Mandatory Mail Order bill will prevent such horror stories, will enable patients to obtain medication form their local pharmacists and best of all, WILL NOT COST A PENNY MORE TO PATIENTS , PLANS OR NY STATE! Gov.Cuomo , we urge you to sign the Anti Mandatory Mail Order Bill . This bill will bring in about $5B and many jobs,which rightfully belongs to NYS. There is no downside to signing this bill.It's win-win situation.

Oct. 17 2011 12:27 PM
Michele McDonald from New Hartford NY

Governor Cuomo:
Please sign into legislation the AMMO bill. We run a pharmacy in upstate NY, let us take care of our customers: The people who live HERE, work HERE, pay taxes HERE, raise their families HERE. Stop sending the $$$ out-of-state.
We are a community.
Give people back their right to choose.
Thank you.

Oct. 17 2011 12:08 PM
Robert Klieger from Merrick,New York

Many of my patients express severe distress when they have to mail their prescriptions away. Many even pay so that they do not have to do this!
Mail order sends billions of dollars and many jobs out of state. Gov.Cuomo, when he signs this bill will give consumers a choice that they really want. I spend hours every day discussing medications with patients that have received them from mail order without the benefit of the personal attention to which they are accustomed.Please Gov.Cuomo, sign this bill and give consumers the choice thay deserve at no cost to the state or businesses. Thank You!

Oct. 17 2011 12:03 PM
Richard Rondinelli from Pelham, NY

How could you possible take away our neighborhood pharmacies??? They are the cornerstone of the Neighborhood!! The AMMO bill must be signed to preserve our freedom of choice and to keep getting the service we need that you CANNOT EVER get from mail order.
My home town pharmacist knows my history, goes out of his way to make phone calls to get approvals, explains in detail all of my concerns, delivers to the house and even gives flu shots!!
This goes on all the while you are too sick to go to the mail box!
Now how can you live with out this!!

Oct. 17 2011 11:55 AM
Jim Detura from NYCPS Board member

The Anti Mandatory Mail Order Bill, (AMMO), allows patients to maintain access to the local neighborhood pharmacy. Forcing patients to receive their prescriptions by mail is not a good practice. In fact just this past Friday I was made aware, AGAIN, of a person who had received someone else's prescriptions in the mail. Thus the patient for whom the medication was intended for did not receive it and the patients confidentiality has now been compromised. One need not have to think very hard to wonder what the patient's wishes would be as to where she would prefer to have her prescriptions filled. I'm confident this patient would rather have the option to deal directly with the pharmacy of her choice. If someone wishes to utilize mail order, it should be their freedom of choice and not the PBM's!
There is also a grave misconception that mail order is cheaper. That is also not the case. This bill allows for the consumer to be protected and heard. I have frequently listened to patients complaining that hey have been inundated with excess medication that was supposed to be discontinued but the mail order pharmacy continues to send it. When the patient was placed on a new medication, he could not receive it because he had already received the maintenance supply which should have been stopped.
Mandatory Mail order is a bad practice! It always has been. It's time to STOP IT!

Oct. 17 2011 11:33 AM
Vince Galletta from Buffalo NY

This is a good bill for NY. It is consumer oriented in regards to choice with no increase in price and it will add or save jobs in NY State since all mail order business goes out of state

Oct. 17 2011 11:27 AM

I am NYC pharmacist
working for an independent pharmacy who takes pride in her profession and maintains a professional
obligation to deliver the best possible quality of service to her consumers.

Mail order should be an option for the consumer. It should not be mandatory. The consumer should have the right to chose how he or she wishes to have their medication filled. Mail-order companies time after time do not
send out packages when due, and consumers end up paying an extra co-payment at a retail location to
avoid interruption in therapy. How is that a savings? What about the waste when medication therapies
change after a 90-day supply has been filled and sent to the consumer? Never mind that mail-order consumers always end up calling retail pharmacies with questions because they cannot speak to
anyone about their prescription concerns at the mail-order facility where their prescription was filled
somewhere in a basement outside of NYS. Please support AMMO

Oct. 17 2011 11:22 AM
Joseph J Bova from NYC

It is time to level the playing field. Keep business in NY. Automatic stimulus package for small businesses. Urge the Governor to sign this and not listen to the managed care lobby. Remember, small businesses when taken collectively, represent the largest employer in this country.

This will not eliminate mail order prescriptions. It gives people freedom of choice.

Oct. 17 2011 11:21 AM
JR Schiffer from Former Pharamcy Owner Brooklyn New York

By Governor Cuomo signing this legislation into law it will help New York consumers access to their needed medications locally and will help preserve jobs in the neighborhood pharmacies. In spite of what critics of this legislation claim, this legislation will not increase costs to healthcare. As a former pharmacy owner of an independent pharmacy in Brooklyn New York over the years, I witnessed the disappearence of a great precentage of my patients who were gradually switched to mandatory mail order pharmacy programs. This legislation will give patients the freedom of choice as to where they obtain their medications. This legislation just puts common sense into the existing process because currently the neighborhood pharmacy has no right to serve any patients who are placed in a insurance program that mandates them to use a mail order pharmacy provider.

Oct. 17 2011 11:21 AM
Stephen L Giroux from Middleport Family Health Center

I can't imagine why the Governor wouldn't sign this bill. It is a pro-consumer, cost saving, free choice, all american type of solution to a significant problem that exists with delivering quality Pharmacy services to patients. Mandatory Mail order interrupts a relationship between patients and pharmacists, is often more costly, bad for the nys economy, and is unfair. This bill passed the Assembly unanimously and 60-2 in the Senate. Governor Cuomo, please sign this bill!

Oct. 17 2011 11:17 AM

I think that it is a no brainer for the governor to sign this bill because it would help the business climate in our state instead of sending business out of state. There will only be increased convenience for the public who can practice their own free choice as to either using their local pharmacy or mail order. I think the majority would use their local pharmacies if they had a choice.

Oct. 17 2011 11:14 AM
Amin from Seaford NY

how many times a week, I come accross my customers who are fed up with forced mail ordering of their medications. Some of them complain that they donot get their medications on time by mail, some complain that they feel safe when they can go to their local pharmacist who not only counsels them but when they have a problem with their medications thay can talk to them. I URGE our Governer to please sign AAMO bill for the benefit of consumers.

Oct. 17 2011 09:53 AM
Roger Paganelli from Bronx, NY

As a third generation pharmacist in New York, I'm concerned that my patients don't have the CHOICE to come to the pharmacy for their prescription maintenance medication. The AMMO legislation, when signed into law by Governor Cuomo, will restore this choice for so many New Yorkers. The legislation very specifically addresses the MANDATORY aspect of private insurance plans. It also contains specific language regarding SAME copay to patients. This is critical because we need to provide the pharmacy dispensing and invaluable counseling services to our patients without penalizing them. Choice is the polar opposite of mandatory. If we are granted the even playing field at the local pharmacy, with NO increased costs to plan sponsor and patients, the consumer is the winner. It's very disconcerting that mail order pharmacies are so opposed to such legislation and makes us question whether the patient's health is at all a concern of theirs. New Yorkers need their local pharmacists to fill their prescriptions, educate them face to face, and be available when the patient needs them. This legislation makes sense for the people of New York and doesn't cost the state, consumer and insurance company anything. This legislation should be signed into law.
And remember, this does not take the patient's choice away, this gives them the option to do either! This ties back to my first sentence about concern for the patient!

Oct. 17 2011 09:39 AM
Russell Gellis from NYC

This legislation is all about freedom of choice for the consumer. every day as pharmacists we interact with customers that are distressed and frustrated with being coerced in to using mail order.
The plan benefit designs set up by the PBM's are all about self referal to their own mail order pharmacy and NOT about savings. Its about PROFIT for the PBM. This is NOT in the best interest of the patient. PLEASE take note that the claim that this will cost the consumer and health plan more money is TOTALLY FALSE. The PBM's send out a basically NON NEGOTIABLE contract to the pharmacy to participate in (take it or leave it) THE PBM's will CONTINUE to control the reimbursements to the pharmacies, therefore their will not be any increase in cost to the conmsumer or health plan. The only change that this legislation will have will be to LOWER THE PROFITS OF THE PBM's. Please take the time to understand the truth of what i have just said dont be fooled by the rhetoric of the PBM lobby.

Oct. 17 2011 09:16 AM
James Notaro from Buffalo, NY

The proposed AMMO legislation is pro consumer and pro business. It allows any NY pharmacist to provide pharmacy services to the residents of NY on an even playing field. That means that pharmacists have to be provide prescriptions at the same cost as the employer's/health plan's mail order pharmacy - no increase in cost to patients or employers - only convenience for patients, support for NY State business (there are no mail order pharmacies in NY State). All at the same price as before.

Governor Cuomo please continue the pro consumer, pro business agenda that you have started - Sign AMMO

Oct. 17 2011 09:11 AM
Daniel Horn RPh from Olean, NY

This seems to be a "no brainer". 5-6 Billion dollars of business are leaving NYS yearly to these out of state mail-order facilities. Local pharmacists who know their patients can take much better care of their neighbors with face to face consultations. This legislation will not cost the government (budget- neutral) or healthcare any money. I run a small independent pharmacy in a small city in a rural area. In just a few weeks we collected over 400 signatures from patients who support this bill. The governor should sign this legislation.

Oct. 17 2011 08:09 AM
Ron DelGaudio from Kings pharmacies

The Govenor should sign this bill. It allows
The people of New York to have a choice
Where they want to fill their prescriptions.
We as consumers should have that choice
And be able to continue that relationship
With their community pharmacy.
We are willing to fill these presciprions
At the same re-imbursement as do the
Mail order facilities do.
Let's give the people a choice and
Bulid a healthier stronger New York.

Oct. 17 2011 12:41 AM
RJ from franklinville

I am an independent pharmacy owner / operator in Western New York. I have NEVER experienced the fiduciary times I am a currently experiencing. I can tell you Governor my business cannot sustain any more cuts in payments from any institutions let alone the State of New York.
When I close my doors there will be an out of state owned food mart, 2 banks, and a post office. Independent pharmacy is the ONLY pharmacy that will help rural small towns...real treasures in most peoples perspectives. As a voter who voted for you please help independent pharmacy and the small communities we serve.

Oct. 16 2011 11:39 PM
Dennis C. Galluzzo RPh

please consider the AMMO Bill as a bill protecting the citzens of nys to have the freedom of choice as to where they buy and get counseled regarding their medication. And, as far as the cost goes, mail order companies are owned by the pharmacy benefit manager controlling that very cost of doing business. Only they can raise the price; competing with community pharmacists should lower that price, they however keep threatening to raise the price if they dont get to keep the monopoly they have been allowed to create.

Oct. 16 2011 11:38 PM
Sophia De Monte from Melville, NY

I practice pharmacy at Costco, while not an independent it is run like one with a major focus on customer service. Through the years we have seen many patients being forced to used mandatory mailorder for their prescription medications with the promise of lower copays. Upon comparison this is not always true and the prices we offer are competitive. The most important value though that our patients receive is one-to-one human interaction. We build a relationship with our patients and are there for them, we care for them and provide them with the best service immediately. While mailorder may offer a convenience to some people it should not be forced upon everyone.

Oct. 16 2011 10:34 PM
MaryAnn C Rph from Utica,NY

I work at an independent pharmacy and have been a pharmacist for over 28 years. This bill needs to be passed so my customers and all local pharmacy customers have a CHOICE where to get their prescriptions. The Govenor talks about job creation and keeping New Yorkers working. Passing this bill will do just that. We are only asking to be able to offer the same services to our customers which we have for many many years. We are not asking that mail order be banned, just not mandatory. Please, help me help my customers.

Oct. 16 2011 10:20 PM
Vincent Chiffy from Utica, NY

I am an owner of an independent pharmacy in Utica, NY. This bill will not only create jobs, which New York needs badly, but also decrease the costs of prescription medication. Because I live in a small community, my customers were able to convince a local employer to let me sign their mandatory mail order program. After all this is a consumer driven bill. To my surprise this mandatory mail order program actually charged the employer more for their generic prescriptions through the mail than what they had been paying through their retail pharmacy. The savings they thought they were saving on brand drugs was just a deception so the PBM could make it up on the generic side. If this law gets signed by the governor, it will lower the costs of prescription drugs because the PBM's won't be able to hide behind contracts, and it will open the door to let true competition drive down the price of prescription drugs. Because I was able to sign one contract, I have received hundreds of phone calls from mandatory mail order customers. They have told me so many horror stories about their experiences with mandatory mail order. Some have even stopped using their insurance and started paying for their prescriptions out of pocket. This is wrong and should not be happening in today's world (especially in the USA.) These people pay a lot of money for their insurance and should be able to choose which provider they use. Especially, since there will be no extra cost to the employer or the patient. Remember this bill does not eliminate mail order. Customers who are happy with their mail order services will still be able to get their prescriptions through the mail at the same price. This is a great bill and should be signed into law. It will be a step forward to reduce the cost of healthcare here in New York and help create jobs at the same time. A win win for New York !!!!

Oct. 16 2011 09:40 PM
Bryan McCutcheon

I own a 'Mom and Pop' store and have been amazed by the amount of mail away prescriptions I am asked to destroy for customers that keep receiving prescriptions in the mail even after they were stopped or changed by the doctor. Most complaiin about the waste and it's not hundreds of dollars it's thousands of dollars that cannot be used...Customers also complain that they cannot get a pharmacist to answer questions about their medications. So much lost revenue for NYS in the billions of dollars every year. It's common sense and healthy competition to level the playing field and let the people decide where to buy their medicine from. Being forced tells you something right off the bat that something is wrong.

Oct. 16 2011 09:02 PM
Charles Catalano from Flushing, NY

The AMMO legislation is good for all New Yorkers. It gives consumers a choice to have their prescriptions filled at a pharmacy of their choice NOT the choice of their insurance company. I have been a community pharmacist for over 30 years and the AMMO bill helps my customers.
On to many occasions
I am the one who has the task of informing my customers that they must have their prescriptions filled at a mail order location rather than the pharmacy they want to.
This bill will also add jobs since most mail order prescriptions are filled outside of New York State. The AMMO bill makes sense for all New Yorkers.

Oct. 16 2011 08:24 PM
Richard Gonzalez from Roslyn Heights NY

The AMMO bill should be signed on it's merits, consumers would have freedom of choice in how the receive their medications.
Billions of dollars are sent out of state to mail order pharmacies, money that would keep jobs in New York. This bill would level the playing field for community pharmacies, now the PBM's can force patients to use mail order and create a monopoly.
It's time for the Gov. Coumo to sign the AMMO bill the passed unanimously by the legislature

Oct. 16 2011 07:53 PM
Tony C. R.Ph. from Suffolk County

Passage of the AMMO bill is a win-win situation for New York and New Yorkers with regard to prescription costs,availability,counseling,job creation and revenue. In my 28 years as a pharmacy owner,I have built relationships with customers and prescribers that cannot be duplicated by mailhouses. We are very often the first member of the healthcare team patients turn to for advice and direction.The gateway to good health,advice and lower prescription costs is through my front door,not the mailbox. Remove the mandates,level the playing field,end PBM greed.

Oct. 16 2011 07:49 PM
Jason Wallace from Northern Kentucky

This legislation is pro-consumer and pro-small business. It is a win-win for all sides because it will inject freedom of choice back into the New York marketplace (and hopefully across the Nation). If you run your business successfully and treat people like all Independent Community Pharmacists do every single day, then the consumer will choose to do business with the "Mom and Pop" pharmacy. The reason the wholly-owned PBM Mail Order Pharmacies want to remove choice from the equation is they know patients will choose Independent Community Pharmacy every single time. Mail Order Pharmacy is simply bad business. Forcing patients to use it is not only wrong, it is unsafe and anti-american. When you hear the argument that mail order pharmacy is cheaper, ask the following: 'How come drug costs with mail order pharmacy keep rising every year and how does Express Scripts have 29.1 BILLION dollars in cash available to buy Medco?"

Oct. 16 2011 07:44 PM
Maya Kurtz

I am a Pharmacist and own and operate a Mom and Pop Pharmacy. I am second generation and my dad gave his life to "our" store.
He is gone many years now, but his love and passion for the profession lives on in me.
I am giving you that information because it matters.

I am hoping the Governor signs the AMMO bill. It is a Bill without an agenda or political favors. It is what a Bill should be FOR THE PEOPLE!!! It gives patients the right to choose.
It does not tell them they cannot use Mail Order. It justs gives them the option to be able to go to their local pharmacy and pay the same price as they would if they used Mail Order. The Pharmacy would not make anymore money than they are being paid presently (not much).

The reason for the resistance is that the Mail Order programs stand to make less. For them it is business pure and simple. For us it is personal. We work and live in our communities. We know our patients. We care for our patients. We are here for our patients.

If you are not aware,Mandatory Mail Order Programs,are for the most part out of New York. Billions of dollars leave the State every year. The state needs the revenue to remain here. This Bill is a win-win.

Small business is a vital part of our economy and our communities.

Your Pharmacist,

Maya Kurtz
Smith Pharmacy
53 North Broadway
Hicksville, New York 11801
516 931 1099

Oct. 16 2011 07:14 PM
Erich Lempin from Lindenhurst,NY

Re: AMMO legislation
New York State is known to be a state favoring consumer rights. Prescription mail order companies give no choice to patients--they are forced by these companies to use their facilities. Charging patients the same copay whether they use mail order or their local independent pharmacy promotes competition and enables us to continue giving them the same personal service they require and ask for. As independent pharmacies, we support the community and keep dollars earned in New York State--helping the state's economy and filling needed jobs.
It behoves the futue of this state that the AMMO legislation gets to Governor Cuomo's desk and that he signs it.

Erich Lempin
The Medicine Center

Oct. 16 2011 06:52 PM
Vaishali from NYU / Montefiore Hospital

I'm a physician and hate dealing with mail order pharmacise. Patients get confused and really need a local pharmacist to give a helping hand. If Ammo bill can help patients and keep prices down than this is a win win legislation.

Vaishali Shah M.D

Oct. 16 2011 06:03 PM
Parthiv Shah from Bronx, NY

I'm a second generation Pharmacist. I'm urging all consumers to ask The governor to sign the AMMO bill. Ammo is a Pro Consumer Legislation. Prices will never go up if we Independent Pharmacies are allowed to compete for the Mail Order Business. Who do you really trust filling your Prescriptions.. a mail order ware house or a localy owned and operated Pharmacy. Around $5 billion dollars leave NY annually. Think about how many jobs can be created if Local Pharmacies were allowed to fill those small prescriptions at the same COST! PBM's have practiced restricted trade to mail orders creating a monopoly environment. We need to end this wrongful practices. Please support AMMO.
-Parthiv Shah R.Ph

Oct. 16 2011 05:55 PM
howie(the hat)jacobson

i own 2 small community pharmacies in nassau county and am also a contributor to WNYC. my patients wanted it and the legislature listened. in my mind it's about many issues not the least of which is JOBS IN NEW YORK, keeping the playing field LEVEL for small businesses in our communities and FREEDOM OF CHOICE for healthcare consumers - a RIGHT, not a privelege for all Americans. Thousands of jobs and BILLIONS of dollars have gone from NY to other states where most of the mail order facilities are located. The governor will soon be able to reverse this trend. I urge him to do so!

Oct. 16 2011 05:53 PM
kenneth J. Moffa, R.Ph.

Tne AMMO Bill will give my patients "FREEDOM OF CHOICE" as to where to get their Rx's filled. There is more "personal contact" with paitients, with no additional cost to the health care system, and competition always keeps prices down. Even the Federal Rx program (Tricare) excluded MANDATORY MAIL ORDER for patients. Gov. Cuomo, please consider signing the AMMO Bill. Thank you, Ken Moffa R.Ph.

Oct. 16 2011 03:48 PM
Roxanne Richardson from Memphis, NY

I have been a pharmacist for many years working long trm care, retail and hospital. I feel this is a consumer protection/choice issue. I have seen the older patient who was given a new medication, fall and break a hip. No one told them to take their dose at bedtime, and get up slowly, because the med could make them dizzy and they could fall. That broken bone will probably need surgery, and a stay in the nursing home for rehabilitation. If they are lucky, they'll get to go back home again, but the majority end up in that nursing home, and many are deceased with six months. Would you rather have your elderly Mom or Dad's meds filled at the local pharmacy, where a pharmacist knows them, and their history, or by mail order? How about your own meds, or your child's medication? Shouldn't there be a choice? Pharmacists have the knowledge to check a patient's medications and make sure they are appropriate for what's being treated, and provide information about the best way to take the medicine. I feel that happens more often when there is a relationship between the pharmacist , patient and provider. Mail order offers an 800 phone number, to provide that "relationship." (There have been many times a former patient has come to their local pharmacy to ask about medications they've gotten in the mail....because they didn't know what they were, or why they were getting them.) Patients need to be able to choose where they get their medicines. Health care decision makers need to consider the whole picture, and realize the local pharmacist can save health care dollars.

Oct. 16 2011 03:35 PM
Joanne Hoffman Beechko from Suffolk County

EVERY day in my community pharmacy, I commiserate with some of my patients who are forced to mail away for their chronic medications for blood pressure, diabetes,
MS and on and on. As an established pharmacy for 20 years in the community,
we have a medical relationship with our patients that is jeopardized by forced mail order. The AMMO bill started with consumer petitions to allow for free market competition, passed unanimously, ( except for 2 Senators ), by both houses of NY, and good for the state of NY's economy by bringing back millions of dollars into the state and more jobs, SHOULD be signed by the Governor. The arguments against it are smoke and mirrors to retain enormous
power and dollars by the PBMs. Since when did more competition increase costs? Consumers will still have the choice to mail away if they so choose, but
Mrs. T.P. would have the ability to come back to me to fill all her prescriptions, some of which, we discovered in casual conversation, could be causing some of her current problems.....

Oct. 16 2011 03:15 PM
Cynthia Atwood from Oradell NJ

Hurray for independent small business.

The town of Oradell, NJ, has fought hard to keep Walgreen's out and maybe this legislation will help bolster the Town Mayor's efforts and encourage Governor Christie to follow NY lead.

Oct. 16 2011 01:30 PM
Ray Macioci - President New York City Pharmacists from Bronx, NY

The legislation passed enables patients to use local as well as mail order pharmacies, with no increase in cost to the patients or health plans, since there would be no difference in co-pays or total price. PBMs (Pharmacy Benefit Managers) employ anti-competitive tactics like MANDATORY mail order to forge a strangle-hold by blocking out independent pharmacies that are willing to compete at the same pricing. The assumption that "mail order is always cheaper" is incorrect when dealing with Rx meds. PBMs generally operate with no transparency for their clients, and now seek to capitalize on the great increase in generic prescribing, drugs on which they make enormous profits, while shielding that fact behind alleged "proprietary information"
This is good consumer legislation for NY, and should be signed into law.

Oct. 16 2011 10:05 AM

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