Friday, November 26, 2010

State Could Save by Consolidating Drug Purchases

Auditor General Jack Wagner offered another suggestion to solve the Pennsylvania’s ongoing budget deficit Wednesday, saying the state could save $50 million a year by consolidating nine different agencies that purchase prescription drugs. According to Wagner, the state spends more than $2.2 billion annually for retired Pennsylvanian’s but consolidation into a single department would reduce that number.

Wagner suggests having a “drug czar” that would “oversea the purchasing rather than having separate different programs do that themselves.”

“The theory is quite simple,” Wagner says. “It’s having purchasing power similar to going to a Costco’s or Sam’s and buying in larger bulk for all types of drugs that are necessary.”

Through buying in bulk, the state could save money on each pill purchased which would reduce the $2.2 billion annually spent by 17 different state programs.

Wagner encourages Governor-elect Tom Corbett to form a panel to discuss this wasteful spending. He also says that similar sized states such as New York and New Jersey are interested in joining Pennsylvania in their purchases which would create even more savings.

“If you’re buying Lipitor and you need 10,000 pills of Lipitor, by merging with different states you buy 50,000 pills, and rather than that being a dollar a pill it’s 90 cents a pill.”

Wagner says that pharmaceutical lobbyists have stalled similar options in the state’s past.

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