Alexandria, Va. - Aug 1, 2012
National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement today to announce a unanimous vote by NCPA's Board of Directors to reject the proposed settlement of the antitrust lawsuit brought by a group of merchants and trade groups, including NCPA, alleging that Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, Citibank, Bank One, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Capital One, SunTrust and other banks engaged in collusive practices by setting credit card interchange fees (or "swipe fees") at exorbitant levels and limiting competition:
"After closely reviewing this complex and multifaceted proposed agreement along with legal counsel, NCPA's board concluded that the settlement is insufficient and that accepting it would not be in the best interest of merchants and the independent community pharmacy owners that NCPA represents.
"NCPA joined this lawsuit to achieve meaningful, long-term reforms to the current swipe fee system. This proposed settlement came woefully short by not imposing necessary fundamental changes to the structure of the industry and the rules affecting merchants, particularly small business community pharmacies.
"Several specific provisions illustrate how the proposed settlement falls short. First, while the settlement appears to offer merchants the ability to pass along some excessive credit card fees to their customers in order to incentivize consumers to use alternative, lower-cost methods of payment, enough strings are attached and existing barriers exist to effectively eliminate this as an option. Second, despite the fact that this proposal does little to reform a badly broken system, the settlement broadly curtails pharmacies and other merchants from taking any future action against the credit card companies by releasing any and all claims going forward. Finally, nothing in this agreement restrains the credit card companies from imposing significantly higher fees for years to come, effectively wiping out the monetary component of the settlement.
"NCPA has retained the law firm Constantine Cannon to represent NCPA going forward and will continue to partner with other class representatives and merchants who have expressed concerns about the settlement."
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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