Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rural Pharmacies and the New Medicare Plan

One-third of rural pharmacists consider closing under new Medicare plan

from the Rural Blog at the University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Journalism
Rural Blog -

A survey of more than 500 community pharmacists revealed that nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) are getting less money and a third are considering shutting down since the new Medicare Part D prescription drug plan went into effect January 1st.

"The survey found that more than half (55 percent) of respondents said they have had to obtain outside loans or financing to supplement their pharmacy’s cash flow because of slow reimbursement by health care plans," according to the National Community Pharmacists Association. "

More than two-thirds (67 percent) of those surveyed said their pharmacy was located in an area with a population of less than 50,000 persons, and most (68 percent) said they had been in business for at least 20 years."

“Community pharmacists have been the backbone of the Part D program and are frequently the most accessible—and sometimes the only—health care provider in the community,” said NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO Bruce Roberts. “We need to address the serious problems of low and slow reimbursement in the Medicare Part D program to ensure that these communities will continue to be served by their pharmacists.” (Read more)

A study by the Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis of the Rural Policy Research Institute reported that average monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans vary from $6 in urban New Hampshire to $53 in rural Hawaii, click here for the study.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This post really makes me mad. I am so glad that you posted it. I don't think we realize just how important your local pharmacy really is. I think there is such a misconception that pharmacies are the ones who charge the outrages prices on prescriptions when it just isn't the case.
    I think that its about time the politicans start fighting for our pharmacies. Do you REALLY want to get your prescriptions filled by some stupid company overseas?
    Medicare and health insurance companies are forcing its members to fill their maintence drugs through mail order or they won't give them the discounts. What?
    I wish someone would take the time to explain this reasoning to me. How can you explain to me putting pharmacies out of business is saving money?
    People don't realize the amount of drugs that counteract with each other. Either they won't work properly or they can cause serious medical issues for the person taking the medications.
    Think about it. Do you honestly think that an overseas pharmacy or in Canada REALLY keeps track of all the prescriptions you take?
    Does the mail order pharmacy take the time to explain your prescription to you?
    My pharmacy will open on Christmas Day or at 3am if I need to get an emergency prescription or will deliver it himself if I can't get to the pharmacy.
    Your mail order pharmacy? It will arrive in a few days. Good luck with that.

  • At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    it should make you angry, this medicare drug plan was, in the end, all about pharmaceutical companies and not seniors (and certainly not rural pharmacists)

  • At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm who else out there has a comment? Maybe no one else thinks that pharmacies are a concern? Maybe thats why politicans aren't fighting for them?

  • At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    most washington politicians don't think rural communities are worth caring about, let alone the pharmacies that reside there

  • At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I totally agree. I think that we need to have more discussion about this.

  • At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am an old man, living in western Iowa and I spend a lot of money on prescription drugs. This plan D might help a little, but, I would hate it if i lost my local pharmacist over it.

  • At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please look at

    Also please get as many angry Kentucky Residents as you can to call their local Eckerd, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart Pharmacies and say unless your parent Company CEO gets Senator Mitch McConnell and congress to repeal Medicare Part D and replace it with a simple prescription drug benefit covering 80 percent of all medications and place it in Medicare Part B without extra premiums, without extra yearly deductibles, without means tests, without late sign up penalties, you will not set foot in their pharmacy ever again.

    Only After you have made the call and realize you appear stuck with one of those pharmacies, then continue to get your medication there, but do not buy any other products there.

    Again look at

    You can reach me at

  • At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Also make sure you demand no coverage gap as well in this new benefit in part B.

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