Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of Health and Human Services, has approved
plans to allow Minnesota and Hawaii to save money on prescription drugs by
forming joint purchasing pools for their state Medicaid programs.
Annually Minnesota taxpayers will save an estimated $14 million, and Hawaii
taxpayers will save an estimated $4.1 million off the price of prescription
drugs the states buy through the Medicaid programs, according to state
Minnesota and Hawaii join Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire, Alaska, and
Nevada in the purchasing pool, which allows states to save money by banding
together to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs they purchase for
their state Medicaid programs (Psychiatric News, September 17).
Thompson approved the plans for the five other states in April.
Also last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent
letters to all state Medicaid directors providing guidance to states wishing
to establish a similar pool.
States participating in the current pool maintain their own preferred drug
list and exercise clinical oversight of those lists to assure adequate access
to needed medicines for their beneficiaries.
A copy of the letter to state Medicaid officials on multistate drug
purchasing pools is posted online at<www.cms.hhs.gov/states/letters>.▪