Tablets Pharmacy Hosts Secretary Becerra of Dept of Health & Human Services

March 22, 2023by custmedrx

Tablets Pharmacy Hosts Secretary Becerra of Dept of Health & Human Services

Evergreen Park independent pharmacy celebrates the Inflation Reduction Act healthcare benefits


Evergreen Park, IL – Tablets Pharmacy was pleased to host Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to discuss the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and its beneficial effect on Medicare patients’ prescription costs on Friday.

Jalal “Jay” Mataria, Pharmacist, and co-owner of Tablets Pharmacy said, “It was an honor having Secretary Becerra, Evergreen Park Mayor Kelly Burke and Representative Jonathan Jackson visit our pharmacy. As a pharmacist and pharmacy owner, I am thankful for several key reforms that the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has implemented to ease the financial burdens on our patients.”

“We are thrilled that the monthly copayment on insulin products that are covered in Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage for Medicare patients has been capped at $35 a month,” said Diala Mataria, Pharmacist, and co-owner of the independent, family-owned pharmacy. “This cap includes insulin vials, pens and pumps. Our patients insured by Medicare and Medicaid will now also benefit from life-saving adult vaccines to protect them against such illnesses as shingles and pneumonia at no cost.”

Secretary Becerra noted, “Independent pharmacies are closer to the community, offering better access for folks who need medical attention. People are often more willing to come to their pharmacy than go to the hospital or their doctor. When independent pharmacies can offer more services, patients will have easier access to healthcare, which means they’re more likely to actually get healthcare.”

Tablets Pharmacy provides medication and other supplies to about 3,000 customers each month. They also administer vaccinations at their location at 9603 South Pulaski in Evergreen Park. The pharmacy has a special focus on patients with mobility issues, offering free delivery of prescriptions, over the counter medications and medical supplies. Mataria also performs house calls, administering vaccinations in the home of seniors and the disabled. He also helps his patients to get their medications organized. “Taking medications on time as your doctor prescribes is one of the most important ways to maintain and improve your health,” says Mataria.

Tablets Pharmacy’s innovative pouch packaging places all medications and supplements together in one dosage pouch. Patients may get one pouch a day, clearly marked with the medications included and the date each dose should be taken. Patients managing more complex medication dosages may get several pouches for each day, each one marked with the medications and supplements included and time of day and date each dosage should be taken. These pouches are on a roll, enclosed in a box, so each dosage is pulled out in order, one by one.

Tablet’s also offers other dosage and traditional packaging options, so each patient can use the packaging best suited for their own individual health care needs.

Dr. Cheryl Woodson of the National Council on Aging also spoke at the event. She noted the importance of seniors having their medication dosages clearly understandable and easy to administer, remarking that medication management is a critical piece to keep seniors healthy and in their own homes. Woodson noted, “The IRA is a game-changer for Medicare recipients who have found barriers to health in the cost of prescription drugs and vaccinations.”

Mataria says, “Because of the IRA, patients can now use their favorite local pharmacy instead of being assessed a higher co-payment – and take advantage of home delivery that most independent pharmacies like Tablets Pharmacy offers.”

Katie Jordon, President of Workers United Retirees, Treasurer of the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans and delegate to the Illinois AFL-CIO, reminded the crowd of the power of having your voice as a citizen heard, saying that a significant reason the IRA passed was because seniors spoke up.

“What President Biden was able to accomplish with the passage of the IRA may have an immediate impact on senior pocketbooks and help these patients,” said Becerra, “but he knows we have work to do to make sure that every American can benefit from $35 a month insulin and from no-cost important vaccines.”

Becerra continued, “I want to pay a special tribute to Jalal and Diala Mataria. I look at them and I admire their story. My parents were immigrants to this country and they didn’t have a chance to get very much. I saw in them this constant yearning for education and success and they knew they could get it for their kids. My three sisters and I were the beneficiaries of people like the Matarias, who work so very hard. To these two doctors, I say thank you for inviting us to Tablets, your pharmacy.”

He stated, “Jalal and Diala, it’s important that people recognize that you chose to be here. You chose to start your business here and chose to go up against some of the big guys in the pharmacy business. Now, people are choosing you. I think that a great testament to this business and to you both. Thank you for being there in the fight, because you established this pharmacy in the midst of COVID. When other businesses were closing, you were opening. And by opening those doors, you helped save a lot of lives. We thank you for administering the COVID vaccine and for going where people live, in their homes, to deliver the mediations that they count on. That’s so essential.”

Tablets Pharmacy opened in December 2019, just weeks before COVID-19 impacted the globe. Mataria credits their free delivery and extensive, personal customer service with getting their business through the pandemic.

“President Biden’s big commitment on health care was to lower the cost and provide better benefits. And that’s exactly what you’ve heard everyone talk about here, said Becerra. “How many people were paying $100, $200 a month for their insulin medication? Now, $35 if you’re on Medicare. Yesterday, when I was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I heard someone paid three hundred and some odd dollars for a shingles vaccine. Now, today, it’s zero dollars for that shingles vaccine. Today, we are also making sure that if you paid more than $35 for your insulin and you’re not getting your extra money back, call us at 800-MEDICARE and we’ll help you.”

Becerra recognized that twenty-seven other drugs, drugs that relieve arthritis, kidney disease, cancer and more, will also cost less because of the IRA. “The manufacturers of these drugs raised the price more than the rate of inflation. Under the IRA, we have the authority to say to the drug companies, “what you overcharged, we get to get back,” he said.

“Now, for the first time in our history, we get to negotiate the best price for Medicare prescription medications. It sounds like “Yeah, of course, common sense.” Why was it that we couldn’t do that before? Of course, we should get the best price. Americans have been paying 2-3 times what most people around the world are paying for the same drug, even if it’s manufactured here in the U.S. For the first time in our history, because of President Biden’s law, we are going to get to negotiate prices for medications for Medicare.”

The President is not done yet, recognizes Becerra. He said, “Here’s why the President says we have work to do, we’re not finished: Those great prices now are available to folks on Medicare, about 67 million people. That means we still have some 270 million other Americans, people who aren’t on Medicare, who are paying more for their insulin medication that they should. I think it’s great that some people are seeing the benefits, and also seeing other companies bringing down their prices for everyone but it’s not guaranteed. The job is not done: we have to finish the job.”

Becerra asserted, “We are on task. We know our job. We want to make sure that every American has access to high quality, lower cost prescription drugs.”

Mataria told Becerra, “Mr. Secretary, we know how hard you and your team fought in order to pass the Inflation Reduction Act. We promise you that here at Tablets Pharmacy, we will work tirelessly to make sure our community benefits from it.”

Evergreen Park Mayor Kelly Burke says “We are thrilled to have Tablets here. This is a good location, between two hospitals for people who need to walk in. Jay and Diala are valuable business owners in our community.”

Being an independent, family-owned pharmacy is very important to Jay and Diala. “We can provide above and beyond service to help our patients and customers. We can take all the time needed to discuss medications, answer questions and customize their orders. We can find the most cost-effective options, find coupons, discounts and special pricing. Our pharmacy can provide free delivery. I can take the time needed to really serve my patients and customers the best way possible. I truly get to know, communicate and build strong relationships with customers. We become second families to each other, and really care for one another, celebrating holidays, talking about our lives, our families, our kids together.”

Diala Mataria says, “Operating our own, family-owned independent pharmacy gives us the ability to provide the absolute best care and the absolute best customer service. Now, with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, we can do even more for our patients.”