Armstrong Bill Will Give Patients Ability to Choose Mail-Order or Retail Rx Service With No Penalty

Armstrong Bill Will Give Patients Ability to Choose Mail-Order or Retail Rx Service With No Penalty

Providers Could No Longer Charge More to Patients Who Use Local Pharmacy


Rep. Deborah Armstrong, a long-time health care advocate and member of the House Health Committee, recently introduced legislation, HB 273, which would allow New Mexicans to get their prescriptions filled at a local pharmacy without any additional charge, even if the prescription is available through a mail-order service.


“There is no substitute for the personalized service that a patient gets from their local pharmacist,” Armstrong said. “While mail-order prescription services are a good option for many consumers, others want, need and benefit from being able to pick up their medications down the street from where they live. They shouldn’t be penalized for that.”


Currently, some insurance policies that cover prescription medications charge patients an extra fee for filling prescriptions at a local retail pharmacy, if the medication is also available through a mail-order service. HB 273 would put an end to that practice. Patients would instead be allowed to choose how and where they want to have their prescriptions filled and would not be forced to pay extra to use their neighborhood pharmacy.


“Quality of care for the patient should always be the top priority,” Armstrong said. “Being able to talk directly with a community pharmacist – who knows a patient’s full range of health care concerns – can help a patient and his or her doctors better coordinate multiple prescriptions. That coordination reduces the risk of negative drug interactions and improves outcomes for the patient. We should be rewarding that, not penalizing it.”


HB 273 has been referred to the House Health Committee, Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee. It is expected to be heard in its first committee next week.


About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie is a long-time health care advocate. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

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