Alexandria, Va. - March 22, 2010
Pharmacy provisions included in health care reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Sunday, now awaiting President Obama's signature, will enhance community pharmacists' ability to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said today. The most noteworthy provisions scale back drastic cuts in reimbursement for Medicaid generic prescription drugs; require limited disclosure from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) operating in the new "exchanges" in an effort to hold down costs; and exempt most pharmacies from the Medicare Part B Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics and Supplies (DMEPOS) accreditation requirement. In response, Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, NCPA executive vice president and CEO, issued the following statement: "The pharmacy provisions in the health care bill passed by the House of Representatives are welcome steps towards improving the delivery of prescription drug services to patients across America. Once the bill becomes law, many community pharmacies can continue serving Medicaid patients as well as offering Medicare beneficiaries' essential medical supplies, like diabetes testing strips. "In addition, federal officials, patients and taxpayers would benefit from having greater access to information about practices that may only pad PBM profits while raising health care costs. The lack of transparency largely leaves health plan sponsors and patients in the dark. Increasingly, public and private payers are reducing drug costs through greater transparency. "Throughout this entire health care reform process, community pharmacists have offered constructive solutions. The effective and efficient delivery of prescription drug services can produce considerable benefits, as demonstrated by examples like the Asheville Project. Community pharmacists' effort to provide a positive force for change will not end when this bill becomes law. Other challenges remain and the implementation process will require our input to help ensure the transition is a smooth one." The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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