County Board meeting dominated by pharmaceutical debate between guest speakers

County Board meeting dominated by pharmaceutical debate between

By JORDAN GRUCZA

Coal Country Times Reporter

The two guest speakers at Tuesday’s Macoupin County Board meeting — Health Administrator Kent Tarro and Michelle Dyer, owner of Michelle’s Pharmacy — began a discussion regarding medication access that will continue later this month with the Board of Public Health.

Tarro spoke first with his proposal for partnering with a “specialized pharmacy,” whose purpose would be to improve access and adherence to medications used to treat patients suffering from substance abuse disorder or behavioral health issues. This pharmacy would dispense and coordinate delivery of medications to the patient at the time of the visit or directly to the patient’s home if they have one, removing barriers to lack of access and stigmatization.

“We have come up with a service that both includes urinalysis testing and provides the ability for a paid staff for free, from a private company, to ensure patients receive their prescriptions,” Tarro said.

The staff member of this specialized pharmacy would provide urinalysis at no cost to the clinic. Also among the proposal would be this pharmacy’s enrollment in the  federal 340B Drug Discount Program, which provides discounted outpatient drugs to eligible entities and organizations. Tarro added that the department is now working to enroll Michelle’s and Sullivan’s pharmacies into this discount program.

After Tarro’s proposal, Dyer stated that she was surprised by the changes the department was making.

Dyer expressed concerns about a company outside the state of Illinois providing medicine to substance abuse patients, as well as allowing a lab technician, which she emphasized is not a pharmacist, to dispense controlled substances.

One point on Tarro’s proposal that Dyer pointed out was the need to eliminate the shortage of medications.

“Non-compliance? We are three blocks from the Maple Street Clinic,” Dyer said. “These patients have transportation issues? I’ll deliver it for you that morning. I deliver injections to a local clinic all the time without a problem. Home delivery? Only 10 percent of these patients don’t have a home. The other 90 percent do.”

“The not so easy part is the effect on the local economy,” Dyer said.

Tarro responded by saying that for his indigent program, patients pay nothing, and asked Dyer if she could give them the same. Tarro also clarified, that he does not get any benefit as he is not a 340B indigent care program.

The decision on this matter will go to the Board of Health, whose next meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 6 pm at the Macoupin County Health Department located on 805 North Broad Street.

Board Chair Mark Dragovich opened the meeting with a moment of silence for Don Burke “Pete” Denby, Jr., 84, former chairman for the Macoupin County Board of Commissioners and the Macoupin County Housing Authority.