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More problems emerging over prescription drug benefits

The state's already stepped in to help pay for needy Californians' medications in the wake of problems with the new federal drug program. But advocates for the poor say other problems are emerging. Sacramento reporter Jeny O'Mara has more.

Pharmacist John Curtis owns the Harbor Pharmacy in Torrance. He says the patients he sees are very sick and very poor -- and so-called dual eligible for both state and federal care programs. He says most have several medications and can't handle the new required co-payments.

Curtis: The pharmacist unfortunately has to give all the bad news, we have to tell them number one that they have a co-pay, number two it's going to be $36 for your twelve prescriptions and they just don't have that kind of money.

While the state is helping to pay for prescriptions in the wake of bureaucratic problems with Medicare Part D , Curtis says this particular group should not have been included in the new program. The state's Medi-Cal chief says there were discussions last year about covering the new co-payments but he says whether the state could pick up those costs long term is uncertain.

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