Could cheaper prescription medications for patients put the hurt on Wisconsin’s local pharmacies? A bill exempting prescription drugs from the state’s Unfair Sales Act, or “minimum markup” law passed the Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare reform this week. La Crosse Democrat Jennifer Shilling voted for it, but worries what will happen to community pharmacies that aren’t located within “big box” stores. “We’ve had some cuts to the average wholesale price, we’ve done some things that were detrimental in the budget, regarding SeniorCare,” said Shilling. “This is just another nail in the coffin to them, that makes it very difficult in a profession they find very challenging.”

AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:60 MP3)

But committee chair, Milwaukee Democrat Jon Richards, noted there are many patients who are also in very challenging situations. “Oftentimes, when people who are heavy users of prescription drugs, they have a chronic condition, and their insurance doesn’t adequately cover what they are paying out of pocket, and they are really hurting,” he said, adding that Wisconsin is one of only six states were patients are prohibited from buying below cost prescription drugs. The committee approved the bill on a 10-2 vote.

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