We can prevent a public health crisis


Impending rule change threatens access to life-saving medicines

A critical safety-net for Californians is at stake. Independent community pharmacies across our state are facing drastic cuts that threaten access to essential life-saving medicines among California’s most vulnerable Medi-Cal beneficiaries – roughly three million people.

Earlier this year, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) adopted a new methodology – approved by former Governor Brown’s administration – to calculate Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for specialty medicines. This new calculation results in a lower reimbursement rate for independent pharmacies. At the same time, DHCS announced they would pursue two years’ worth of retroactive recoupments from these pharmacies.

The result is an annual $67 million cut to Medi-Cal reimbursements, plus an additional $36 million in clawbacks for independent pharmacies.

The Impact to Californians is Catastrophic

  • people_circle

    3 Million

    Medi-Cal beneficiaries

    stand to lose access to their life-saving medicines for HIV/AIDs, behavioral health and cancer

  • money_circle

    2 Years

    Retroactive payment

    will be collected by DHCS from community pharmacists that currently serve Medi-Cal patients

  • pharmacy_circle

    Drastic Loss

    of community pharmacies

    who have historically been the most accessible healthcare provider to Medi-Cal beneficiaries



It's time for action

Californians for Access to Life-Saving Medicine was formed to educate state leaders about the catastrophic consequences the Brown Administration decision will have on California’s most vulnerable populations, local communities and neighborhood pharmacies.

Californians for Access to Life-Saving Medicine is asking Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders to suspend implementation of the Brown Administration’s rule so that an alternative solution that protects Medi-Cal beneficiaries and the ability of community pharmacies to fill prescriptions can be identified. Our goal is to find an alternative that protects peoples’ access to life-saving medicine regardless of where they live, their ethnicity, immigration status or ability to pay.

We hope that community partners, pharmacies and patients will join Californians for Access to Life-Saving Medicine. Together, we can work to ensure all Californians continue to have access to the medicine they need.


Why Californians Care

“If these rules remain in place, we risk creating a public health crisis. We believe — and we know — California can do better.”

Tom Renfree

Deputy Director, Substance Use Disorder Services at County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California

“I’ve worked on the front lines of providing health care and I’m extremely concerned by these new DHCS rules.”

Liz Helms

President and Chief Executive Officer, Chronic Care Coalition

“Without these pharmacies, many patients will have nowhere to go.”

Eric Robles

Director, Political and Legislative Affairs, United Nurses Association of California/Union of Healthcare Professionals

“The new lower DHCS reimbursement rates and retroactive claw backs drastically hurt our ability to serve these Medi-Cal patients.”

Dr. Ken Thai

Chief Executive Officer, 986 Degrees Pharmacy, President-Elect, California Pharmacists Association