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HARRISBURG (CBS) – Pennsylvania’s auditor general says the state could save millions of dollars a year by better using its bulk-buying power to purchase prescription drugs.

It’s the latest in a series of money-saving proposals offered by auditor general Jack Wagner. He admits that consolidating the state’s prescription drug purchases is not a new idea. He believes in the past, governors who have pursued it have been thwarted by bureaucrats.

Wagner says, “And in addition to that, to be quite frank, I think the pharmaceutical lobby at the federal level and the state level is extremely strong.”

But Wagner says the four billion-plus dollar deficit the state is staring at means resistance to the idea must be overcome. He says right now, the state spends more than two billion dollars on prescription drugs through 17 different programs overseen by nine agencies. He estimates that consolidating those purchases could save at least $50 million dollars a year, and says there would be even greater savings by pooling purchases with other states.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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