Hawaii gov mulling bill to help local pharmacies

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HONOLULU (AP) — A bill sitting on Gov. Neil Abercrombie's desk could increase competition for Hawaii pharmacies and make it easier for some residents to receive their medications.

The Hawaii Legislature passed the bill to allow residents to go to their local pharmacies to get their prescription drugs. Some plans, including current state and county employee health plans, require people to receive certain drugs by mail, like diabetes or allergy medication.

Advocates of the bill say that it is an issue of consumer choice. They say residents of Hawaii's rural areas, particularly neighbor islands, have had difficulty getting their medication under current plans.

But critics say the bill will drive up costs. The Hawaii Medical Service Association and CVS Caremark Corp. say the mail-order requirement makes prescription drugs more affordable.

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