from yesterday's inbox:
Offering another suggestion to address Pennsylvania’s ongoing fiscal crisis, Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that the commonwealth could save millions of dollars annually by consolidating its prescription drug purchases.
Pennsylvania state government spends more than $2 billion a year on prescription drugs for nearly 2.1 million Pennsylvanians, through 17 drug programs overseen by nine different state agencies. The Department of Public Welfare is the largest purchaser, overseeing five contracts worth $2 billion a year as of 2003, the last public data available. The others are:
· Dept. of Aging, for Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE)
· Office of Administration, through the Pennsylvania Employment Benefit Trust Fund (PEBTF), for active and retired state employees
· Dept. of Labor and Industry, for workers’ compensation
· Dept. of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, for veterans’ benefits
· Dept. of Health, for four programs, including chronic renal dialysis and cystic fibrosis
· Dept. of Corrections, for inmate drug benefits
· Dept. of Insurance, for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
· Pennsylvania State Police, for a new program for troopers, families, and retirees
Wagner said that the commonwealth could save at least $50 million a year just by consolidating all of its own prescription drug purchases. Pennsylvania could save an additional $200 million a year, or more, if it took the next step of pooling its prescription purchases with those of New York and New Jersey.
Wagner said his proposal would change only how the drugs are purchased. It would not change the individual programs’ terms of eligibility, the quality of medicines, or level of benefits provided to Pennsylvanians.