How much does it cost? That's an important question to answer when buying or selling almost anything.
How much it costs to dispense a prescription is a key piece of information. Twelve years ago, the national average was $10.86. Four years ago, it was $10.84. How your pharmacy's COD compares to the national average is important to know, whether you're sizing your operations up against other pharmacies or negotiating pharmacy fees with state Medicaid departments.
NCPA is currently working to survey community pharmacies in order to quantify a national COD. This is our third national survey since 2007. We are again working with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and this year, the National Association of Specialty Pharmacies has joined with us to measure the COD for specialty prescriptions. We're asking community pharmacy owners to complete the survey so that we can be sure there are enough data points for a representative sample of their costs to balance out the data from chain drugstores.
There are plenty of places where results of the survey will be used. One example is in the 36 state Medicaid programs using NADAC-plus payment models. Data from the survey is also helpful to make the case when payments are below the pharmacy's cost to do business. For example, NCPA, NACDS, and the Washington State Pharmacy Association have filed a lawsuit against Washington state for establishing a NADAC-plus payment that is less than half of the COD, which runs counter to a federal rule from CMS.
It takes a few minutes to fill out the survey form, but taking time to analyze your pharmacy's personal COD may be an important tool to evaluate prescription costs and provide insight to determine if there are potential efficiencies your pharmacy can take advantage of.
With the current pharmacy payment model, patients don't know how much they will pay, and pharmacies don't know how much they will be paid. Knowing your pharmacy's COD is one important starting point to bring clarity and simplicity to an overly complex, cumbersome, and – especially – covert pharmacy payment system.
How much does it cost? The results of this survey will provide us the answer.