Alexandria, Va. - Feb. 28, 2011
Today, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) authored a joint letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), emphasizing the ability of community pharmacies to help lower prescription drug costs, and the importance of maintaining the right of military families and veterans to choose where they fill their prescriptions through the TRICARE program.
The joint letter by NACDS and NCPA was issued to Chairman Levin to address a letter the Chairman received from the Joint Chiefs of Staff urging Congressional support for the President's budget proposals. While NACDS and NCPA expressed support for the emphasis on increasing generic utilization rates—and noted community pharmacy's valuable role in doing so—the associations took issue with the concept of incentivizing TRICARE beneficiaries' use of the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy program.
"We understand the burden of rising health costs and the need to control spending in the military healthcare system. We strongly support the recommendation by the Joint Chiefs to encourage greater utilization of generic drugs," the letter stated.
The letter also cited surveys that have revealed that TRICARE beneficiaries, particularly TRICARE retirees, prefer to obtain prescription medications from retail locations.
"We believe the choice of where to obtain prescription medications is best left to TRICARE beneficiaries," the letter stated.
To view the letter, please click here.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies – from regional chains with four stores to national companies. Chains operate 39,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.7 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill nearly 2.6 billion prescriptions annually, which is more than 72 percent of annual prescriptions in the United States. The total economic impact of all retail stores with pharmacies transcends their $830 billion in annual sales. Every $1 spent in these stores creates a ripple effect of $1.96 in other industries, for a total economic impact of $1.57 trillion, equal to 11 percent of GDP. NACDS represents 137 chains that operate these pharmacies in neighborhoods across America, and NACDS members also include more than 900 pharmacy and consumer packaged goods suppliers and service providers, and over 60 international members from 23 countries. For more information about NACDS, visit www.NACDS.org.
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, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% 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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