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Pharmacy Groups Say New Rebate Rule Does Not Do Enough to Support Patients

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Nov. 24, 2020) – The country’s leading pharmacy groups issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s new final rule on prescription drug rebates:

“While we want our patients to pay less for their prescription drugs, this rule does not accomplish that. It will likely increase their insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and may limit patients’ access to care by forcing more pharmacies to close.

“We have repeatedly provided evidence that any action on prescription rebates must also address pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration fees. Pharmacy DIR fees are causing patient prescription drug costs to soar and limiting patient access to care as more pharmacies are forced to close. Our organizations have previously weighed in on the possible dire impact of rebate reform on pharmacies, namely late payments, lack of transparency to pharmacy reimbursement or chargeback amounts at the point of sale, unclear regulatory oversight, and costs associated with implementing such system outlined in the final rebate rule. Without pharmacy DIR fee reform, the impact of implementing a system to pass rebates onto patients at the pharmacy counter may prove disastrous for patients and pharmacies.”

Pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees are growing beyond CMS’ projection of 10 percent year-over-year. This growth of pharmacy DIR fees is especially unsustainable during the current COVID-19 public health emergency when our members, representing every aspect of the pharmacy industry, care for patients while also providing access to COVID-19 tests and working to provide access to vaccines.

The groups include the National Community Pharmacists Association; the American Pharmacists Association; the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy; FMI-The Food Industry Association; and the National Grocers Association.

Pharmacy DIR fees are charged by payers to pharmacies and have – according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data – grown by 45,000 percent since 2010. Resulting from a regulatory loophole, the fees have the net effect of needlessly inflating Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and jeopardizing the viability of pharmacies. The number of pharmacies in the United States has declined significantly, coinciding with the increased use of pharmacy DIR fees.

Click here for July 2020 comments warning the administration that action on a prescription drug rebate rule must address skyrocketing fees extracted by pharmacy benefit managers on behalf of plan sponsors in Medicare Part D.

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News Releases | Nov 24, 2020

A gift to the NCPA Foundation supports independent pharmacy

Giving Tuesday is just one week away. As you consider giving, please think of the NCPA Foundation’s mission to support community pharmacies. Your donation can help us help community pharmacies affected by a disaster, provide scholarships for pharmacy students, support the Dispose My Meds Program, or provide assistance in other ways. Please consider a donation, large or small.

qAM | Nov 23, 2020

Functional medicine webinar wraps up Dec. 2

The final session of Thinking Outside the Vial, our continuing webinar series on functional medicine, is set for Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. This series is for pharmacists interested in incorporating a functional medicine approach to treat some of the most common disease states seen in patients. Each segment of the series covers a different disease state, associated drug-induced nutrient depletions, prescribing opportunities, and support protocols. The final session covers Allergic Diseases. If you’ve missed taking part in the series, consider purchasing a Full Access Pass and experience the webinar on your own time.

qAM | Nov 23, 2020

Invite a buddy to take Point-of-Care Testing Training

Demand was so high that we’ve brought the Community Pharmacy-Based Point-of-Care Testing Certificate Course back. Why not invite a co-worker or pharmacy buddy to take the course with you? (There’s a special team member rate.) Here’s how it works: You’ll do 16 hours of on-demand pre-work you can complete on your schedule, then take a four-hour live (online) program on Dec. 9. You’ll also have a short one-on-one skills assessment with one of the presenters at a time that works for you. The program arms you with the tools needed to establish a thriving community pharmacy-based POCT program that serves your pharmacy long after the pandemic. Space is limited; reserve your seat today. Registration will close on Dec. 4 or when the class is full, whichever comes first. The course, created by NACDS, is hosted by the NCPA Innovation Center.

qAM | Nov 23, 2020

Judge: Washington state’s reimbursement plan violates Medicaid rules

NCPA, along with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and the Washington State Pharmacy Association, on Monday praised an administrative law judge’s decision that confirmed that Washington state’s pharmacy reimbursement plan violates Medicaid rules. The finding upholds CMS’ March 2019 decision to this effect, which was challenged by Washington state. The finding brings one step further to closure a lawsuit filed in March 2017 by NACDS, WSPA, and NCPA against the state of Washington. For background on the case, see this press release.

qAM | Nov 23, 2020

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