Drugs for parish inmates contracted

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, April 10, 2012

VIDALIA — High prescription drug costs for Concordia Parish inmates have been sentenced to serve one-year under a pharmacy benefits management program.

The Concordia Parish Police Jury approved the contract with Script Care, a company based out of Beaumont, Texas, that lowers the costs on prescription drugs for inmates by partnering with pharmacies.

After several jurors expressed interest and had questions about the company at the last meeting, president Melvin Ferrington invited a representative of the company to Monday’s meeting to fill in the blanks.

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Tab Bryan, vice president of sales and marketing, presented more exact details about the plan, which could result in savings of up to 40 percent.

“We have a contract with pharmacies to get lower rates for the inmate prescriptions,” Bryan said. “Essentially, you’re getting savings and discounts from the full price you’re paying now.”

The company pays the bills from the pharmacies every two weeks and then sends the police jury an invoice with the total cost, Bryan said.

Juror Willie Dunbar said he was concerned with the high cost of brand name prescription drugs that were being prescribed to inmates instead of generic drugs.

“We can put it in place in your plan so they’re being pushed the generic brands first,” Bryan said. “You will have some physicians that say ‘No. They need that specific drug,’ but we do want to try and limit those to restrict high costs.”

Bryan also addressed issues from other jurors regarding inmates who receive a 30-day prescription, but get bonded out after one or two days.

“We can set up a checks and balances system to have dispense limits, so you’re not going to be left with all those extras,” Bryan said.

Ferrington said he saw no issues with the plan other than the typical three-year minimum plan the company requires.

Bryan said all plans can be customized to fit the needs of each parish and that a one-year plan could be created for Concordia.

“I don’t see how we could go wrong with this if it’s going to save us money,” Ferrington said. “We need to do this.”

Ferrington said the police jury spends approximately $1,000 to $1,500 a month on prescription drugs for inmates.

The company was recommended to Ferrington by the Police Jury Association of Louisiana and currently manages parish inmate prescription programs for seven parishes in Louisiana.

In other news from the meeting:

 The board adopted a resolution to apply for a statewide flood control program grant through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

“They have some money available for flooding across the whole state of Louisiana, and we are in line to get some of that money,” Ferrington said. “This would fit right into our other grants that we are working on with FEMA to get flood control going in our area.”

Ferrington said he would be drafting the grant application this week and that an exact amount of funding being applied for had not been determined.