Local Pharmacist Featured in Online Publication
J.D. Fain, owner of Pieratt’s Pharmacy in Giddings, was quoted and featured in an article by Chris Tomlinson with the Associated Press recently. While having one of our own featured by the Associated Press is impressive, the message in the article was dire. Like the corner grocery store, the neighborhood bookshop and the local music store, Fain worries that the hometown pharmacy may be next in what seems to be a growing trend toward big-chain stores taking over the small business man’s livelihood.
The writer reports, “Fain bought Pieratt’s Pharmacy 14 years ago, moved it to a new building and kept the 50-year-old business’ motto: ‘ Your Hometown Pharmacy.’ He greets customers by name, knows their family, their medical histories and most importantly what drugs they’re taking for their ailments.”
“How much longer he can stay in business, though, is questionable. A new state law reduces by 80 percent how much pharmacies get reimbursed for filling prescriptions for customers who rely on Medicaid, the government-funded insurance that serves about 3.3 million poor and disabled Texans.
The new Medicaid prescription drug program is expected to save up to $100 million over the next two years by hiring private companies, called pharmacy benefit managers, to pay out the lower rates and negotiate the cheapest possible drug prices.”
The law, which took effect last week, will cut the reimbursement rate Fain receives for filling a prescription to the point that it could destroy the business plan used by many small, independent pharmacies.
The AP article continues, “Drug store chains and grocery stores that include a pharmacy have an advantage over the mom-and-pop stores because they sell thousands of products besides prescriptions. Small pharmacies, like Fain’s, rely on drugs for a larger proportion of their business, and can’t absorb losses on reimbursements the same way bigger companies can.”
Fain operates one of three pharmacies in Giddings. Unlike his competitors, he only sells drugs and medical supplies. Fain said he prefers to focus on providing his patients with the advice they need to stay healthy rather than focusing on filling his shelves with things unrelated to that purpose.
To read the entire article, go to www.chron.com and search New Medicaid Rules.