Medicare Part D hurting some pharmacies

ALBERT LEA, Minn. — Some smaller pharmacies are closing in southern Minnesota and it could  be linked to changes to health care laws.

Medicare Part D was designed with the idea of giving seniors more choices on prescription drug plans, but it is not going quite as planned.

The goal was to allow seniors to be able to go to a nearby pharmacy without restrictions, but “preferred networks” are popping up and some say that is hurting small town locations.

“The first year we lost a few customers, second year a few more. It’s getting to be where it’s getting pretty tough, especially for small towns,” said Curt Clarambeau of Curt’s Pharmacy in Albert Lea.

He said that some pharmacies are not being asked to sign these contracts.

“Many of us would be happy to sign those contracts, but it just seems like a way to get rid of a lot of competition for the big chains and for the large PBMs,” Clarambeau said.

He said the idea behind Medicare Part D was great, but these kinks need to be worked out. He adds that this is contributing to the closure of small-town pharmacies in southern Minnesota including the one in Janesville this week.

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