Austin doctors sue Texas to allow physicians to dispense prescriptions

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two Austin doctors are suing the State of Texas aiming to lift the state’s ban preventing doctors from being able to dispense the medication they prescribe to patients.

Physician dispensing is legal in 45 states. The Institute for Justice says the ban is in place to protect pharmacy profits.

Austin doctors Mike Garrett and Kristin Held say it’s about convenience and cost for their patients.

A bill earlier this year to give Texas physicians the authority to dispense certain drugs never made it out of the Public Health committee.

“I have patients who use Good Rx where they can price check…and you’ll see a wide variety in cost from pharmacies that are close-by. One place, it will be $14, and another $84 for the exact same medication,” Dr. Mike Garrett said. “When I check those prices, I can also go on my medical supply company websites and check the actual cost to me and its pennies per pill. I tell my patients I could dispense it for $4…that happens every day.”

The Texas Medical Board references two related studies on primary care prescriptions. One study found that 31.3% of prescriptions never get filled, and nearly 66% of people didn’t fill those prescriptions because of the high cost.

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