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State Seal Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
The Fletcher Administration: Working to Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs for Kentuckians
Press Release Date:  September 28, 2004
Contact:  Doug Hogan
Jeannie Lausche
Jason Keller

Frankfort, KY: To date, neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved any waivers to purchase drugs from Canada or from any other country. Furthermore, we must ensure that the process of re-importation would be both safe and legal for our vulnerable populations and state employees.

Because no other state to date has obtained waiver approval from the FDA, Governor Fletcher is not waiting for the federal government to take action to provide lower prices that state employees and Medicaid members pay for prescription drugs. Currently, the administration is actively moving to:

  • Enhance the Commonwealth’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee (P&T Committee) actions. This will ensure that people receive the drugs that are clinically needed, while ensuring that the pharmaceutical companies compete on cost and quality.
  • Reduce the cost of drugs for both state employee and Medicaid members. The administration has recently acquired the services of First Health of Virginia, a pharmaceutical benefits administrator, to assist the Commonwealth in negotiating lower prices and to enhance supplemental rebates from pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, for state employees, the insurers covering state employees must implement pharmacy benefit management programs with the objective of lowering pharmaceutical costs.
  • Develop comprehensive disease management for state employee health plan and Medicaid members. This is necessary since the pharmaceutical utilization exceeds the national average for both plans. This is evidenced by the fact that 33,000 Medicaid recipients received 20 or more different prescriptions in a 180 day period at a cost of $300,000,000. Clinical evidence indicates that individuals who take 8 or more prescriptions a month approach nearly 100% probability of experiencing adverse drug interaction. Disease management approaches give us a tremendous opportunity to improve the quality of care while lowering cost.

“Governor Fletcher is clearly concerned about the rising cost of prescription drugs that Kentuckians are paying. In addition to disease management, and other initiatives to lower the cost of prescription drugs, the administration would be happy to take a look at re-importation to see if it would in fact provide substantial savings for people across Kentucky,” said Daniel Groves, Chief of Staff to Governor Ernie Fletcher. 

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Last updated: Thursday, June 02, 2005