As she tours Illinois, Comptroller Susana Mendoza is taking a particular interest in the well-being of independent pharmacies serving rural and medically underserved communities.
She spoke with Health News Illinois this week to highlight the importance of a program aimed at supporting pharmacies in some of the state's most rural areas.
According to her office, 103 pharmacies participated in the Critical Access Pharmacies program in fiscal year 2022.
Mendoza also raised concerns about pharmacy benefit managers and their impact.
"I have not seen evidence to suggest that the state is actually saving money with these PBM in the mix," she said. "My experience has been that I would rather pay pharmacists directly, and I believe that actually save us money by doing so just based on the numbers that I've seen."
Melodie Shrader of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents PBMs in Illinois and across the country, said in response to Mendoza’s comments that they looking forward to sharing with her how they “are lowering out-of-pocket medication costs for Illinois residents.”
“The evidence is clear that PBMs work, saving Illinois residents on average $962 a year in drug costs,” Shrader said. “Taxpayers benefit from PBMs too, as they will help the state Medicaid system save over $2 billion in this decade alone. The evidence also shows that independent pharmacies have remained both stable and profitable while Illinois has used PBMs to lower drug costs for residents."
For more information check Health News Illinois.