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Pharmacies Sue Florida Over Medicaid Drug Purchases

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File photo. (Kim Hong-Ji/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo. (Kim Hong-Ji/AFP/Getty Images)

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Independent pharmacies are suing over contracts they say force Medicaid patients to obtain drugs from conglomerates based outside Florida.

The Florida Pharmacy Association, several individual drug stores and pharmacists and a group of Medicaid patients sued on Thursday in state Circuit Court in Tallahassee.

The suit accuses the state Agency for Health Care Administration of secretively awarding contracts in an illegal attempt to privatize Medicaid for most of its low-income and disabled patients.

The plaintiffs say the contracts are being awarded to for-profit health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, that require patients to use mail-order or chain store pharmacies.

An agency spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment because it has not yet received the suit.

The suit says the contracts violate “freedom of choice” requirements and will cost thousands of Florida jobs.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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