Independent pharmacies express concerns about possible layoffs, closures

Independent pharmacies say they are concerned about possible layoffs and closures at a time when New Yorkers need them the most. 
Clinical pharmacist Marta Giammarino says hundreds of independent pharmacies statewide are struggling financially due to low reimbursement rates from pharmacy benefit managers. 
"PBMs are pharmacy benefit managers and they're the middlemen that control the reimbursements to the pharmacy. So if we dispense a prescription, many times we'll get reimbursed at or below costs,” said Giammarino. 
Kings Specialty Pharmacy in Brooklyn, along with more than 300 pharmacies in the state, say they are one of the many who fear this outcome. 
They are also one of 50 pharmacies in Brooklyn taking part in a survey by the Pharmacists Society State of New York. 
"We're just trying to survive and stay, you know, able to be here and do vaccinations, do COVID testing. We want to be here for the community,” says Giammarino.
"I'm hoping that there's going to be some changes with how we get paid for our services. We want to be here, we want to stay here because you need the community pharmacies, we’re the most accessible resource for people that live here,” says Giammarino.
Pharmacists are expressing hope over a new bill that was passed in the Senate Wednesday that would allow PBMs to be licensed and regulated.