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Walsh in Elgin to hear about tough times for independent pharmacies

Customer PBrown Huntley talks with Republican 8th District Congressman Joe Walsh Wednesday The Medicine Stop Elgin. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

Customer Pat Brown of Huntley talks with Republican 8th District Congressman Joe Walsh on Wednesday at The Medicine Stop in Elgin. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 13, 2012 9:13AM

ELGIN — For years, Huntley resident Pat Brown had been having her prescriptions filled by Chris Scalzitti at The Medicine Stop in Elgin.

But because of her insurance company mandating where she can get her medications, Brown has to go elsewhere.

“I feel bad that after all these years we’ve been with Chris, we have to do this,” she said.

Scalzitti’s is one of a number of small, independent pharmacies who he said are being “squeezed out” by the large chain stores and mail-order pharmacies.

“It’s getting tougher and tougher every year, but we’re doing our best,” said Scalzitti, who has had his shop for 26 years.

He said he has not been given the opportunity by large insurance companies to be included as a preferred provider.

“When I called, it took 3½ weeks to get an answer: no. And they would not give me a reason why,” he said.

He shared the plight he and other independent pharmacy owners are dealing with U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-McHenry, whom he invited to stop by his shop Wednesday, along with current and past customers.

Brown told Walsh that she is now paying more for her prescriptions than she did at The Medicine Stop.

“And you don’t have the same service at the larger pharmacies,” she said. “People are just a face and a number.”

Walsh, who is again seeking the GOP nomination for the 8th Congressional District seat in the March 20 primary, said health care reform is necessary.

“I hear from doctors all the time that interaction with patients is going by the wayside,” he said.

He thanked Scalzitti for sharing his frustrations.

“I do a lot of this to help educate me,” Walsh said. “Congressmen need to be educated. I’m going to sink my teeth into this. When it comes to health care, this is one of those huge issues, and something’s got to be done.”

In the newly reshaped 8th District — which encompasses portions of Cook, DuPage and Kane counties, including parts of Elgin, South Elgin, East Dundee and Carpentersville — there will be contests in both the Democrat and Republican primaries.

Democrats who filed for the office are Raja Krishnamoorthi and Tammy Duckworth, both of Hoffman Estates.

Fellow Republicans seeking the nomination are Robert Canfield of Palatine and Richard Evans of Wheaton.

Walsh said the issue of health care is a major one that needs to be tackled by those on both sides of the aisle.

“It’s going to take some time to come together,” he said. “Be patient.”

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