NACDS, NCPA Urge U.S. Senate, House Committees to Preserve Patient Choice and Access to Community Pharmacy for TRICARE Patients



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Alexandria, Va. - May 7, 2012 The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today expressed concerns to U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and U.S. House Armed Services Committee leaders over the potential impact of the Administration's FY2013 budget on TRICARE beneficiaries and community pharmacy.

In a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ), and a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), NACDS and NCPA stated that the budget would "increase healthcare costs for the Department of Defense, place significant financial burdens on TRICARE beneficiaries, and threaten access to local pharmacies."

The letters outline the flaw in the budget's co-payments proposal to incentivize TRICARE patients to move to mail order, which will in fact increase healthcare costs, rather than decrease costs.

"The goal ... is to reduce prescription drug spending. However, the co-payments currently in place for the TRICARE pharmacy benefit are flawed, and the proposed changes will only build on this faulty structure. According to DoD's own analysis, in the case of generic medications, mail order is more expensive than the retail pharmacy network," the letters stated.

NACDS and NCPA urged the committees' leaders to promote the use of generic drugs at neighborhood pharmacies.

"TRICARE mail order dispenses generics less frequently than other commercial mail order programs," the groups stated in the letters.

The letters also emphasized the importance of cost-savings demonstration projects, and urged Congress to include a medication therapy management (MTM) project in the FY2013 Defense Authorization bill.

"The use of MTM in targeted populations has been found to increase adherence to medications, reduce hospitalizations and physician visits, and reduce costs."

NACDS and NCPA urge Congress to ensure that community pharmacy access and choice are preserved for TRICARE beneficiaries.

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. 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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