NCPA: Bipartisan Group of Representatives Offer Support for Pharmacies and Patients by Urging CMS to Ensure Local Access to Diabetes Testing Supplies


Alexandria, VA - August 26, 2010

U.S. Representatives Mike Rogers (R-MI), Zack Space (D-OH), Lee Terry (R-NE) and Peter Welch (D-VT) have sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about keeping prices for its national Competitive Bidding Program (CBP) for Medicare Part B mail order diabetes testing supplies (DTS) separate from similar supplies offered by retail pharmacies.

The Representatives argue that retail pharmacy, especially independent community pharmacies that are traditionally located in underserved areas, would incur significant financial losses under any sort of CBP pricing model that could force pharmacies to stop selling DTS to seniors. So while CMS has presently exempted retail pharmacy from the CBP requirement, the lack of clarification about how and when future CBP pricing might be applied to retail pharmacy is worrisome and needs to be prevented.

"We commend Representatives Rogers, Space, Terry and Welch for their leadership and foresight in heading off a potential problem that could see millions of seniors lose access to diabetes testing supplies at their local pharmacies," said Douglas Hoey, RPh, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) acting executive vice president and CEO. "This is not only a matter of convenience, but of adherence, as pharmacists have the expertise to ensure the supplies are being used correctly. Planning for future contingencies is what every successful entrepreneur faces, and that is why this full court press to garner an ironclad commitment from CMS is occurring. CMS must keep mail order and pharmacy pricing separate."

NCPA went into further detail about the CBP issue in comments recently submitted to CMS about proposed rules for next year’s Medicare Part B program.

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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