MIAMI - In spite of numerous problems with the implementation of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, customers have been cooperative, understanding and even sympathetic to the staffs of in-store pharmacies, a retailer panel last week told the Supermarket Pharmacy Conference of the Food Marketing Institute, Washington.
"Despite all the challenges, I think this has cast pharmacy in a very positive light," said John Beckner, director of pharmacy and health services, Ukrop's Super Markets, Richmond, Va.
"People actually did feel sorry for the pharmacist across the counter," said Bob Stone, director of managed care, Ahold USA, Braintree, Mass.
David Swager, a pharmacist with Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., said customer response has "been great, which is surprising considering all the troubles that program began with."
The program needs a year before it will be running smoothly, Stone said. "We have something that will work eventually. We have a foundation, but it needs to be tweaked," he said.
"There are so many choices that people are afraid of picking the wrong plan," Beckner said. He noted that a confusing problem with co-branding, where plans carry one retailer's name even though they can be used at others, now has the attention of Congress.