At Capitol Hill Rally, Community Pharmacists Announce Support for Bipartisan Senate Bill to Bolster Consumer Choice and Pharmacy Competition

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Alexandria, Va. - May 25, 2011

Capping off a meeting that brought hundreds of independent community pharmacists to Washington, D.C. for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Legislative Conference, Members of Congress joined pharmacists at the U.S. Capitol today to discuss the cost-saving services provided by local pharmacies now and in the future. At the rally, NCPA endorsed S. 1058, the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2011, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) to help safeguard the patient's choice of pharmacy, bolster privacy rights and reduce wasteful pharmaceutical spending.

"Community pharmacists greatly appreciate the bipartisan support expressed this week for local pharmacies and the vital health services they provide to patients," said Robert Greenwood, RPh, NCPA President and Waterloo, Iowa pharmacy owner. "It's critical that the patient-pharmacist partnership be strengthened, especially as the cost of improper medication use has been estimated as high as $290 billion annually. The Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act will help preserve patients' access to their preferred pharmacy and encourage greater pharmacy competition for consumers. We strongly commend Senators Pryor and Moran for sponsoring this bipartisan bill."

S. 1058 is companion legislation to H.R. 1971, sponsored by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.). S. 1058 would:

  • Give patients a true choice of pharmacy.
  • Establish new consumer protections against the sale of sensitive patient information.
  • Help eliminate wasteful pharmaceutical spending generated by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) switching patients to costlier drugs, hoarding manufacturer rebates and billing plans inflated amounts for prescription claims.
  • Level the playing field among pharmacies by allowing "any willing provider" that agrees to accept a health plan's terms and reimbursement rates to participate in that plan, so long as the pharmacy is licensed in that particular state and eligible to participate in federal and state health plans (which remove any providers that commit fraud).
  • Allow legitimate oversight for fraud, not abusive pharmacy audits.

For more information on the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act, click here.

Earlier this week, Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced, and NCPA endorsed, the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act (H.R. 1936) to allow seniors to continue receiving essential diabetes testing supplies, and expert counseling on their proper use, from independent community pharmacies. Community pharmacists are also backing the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act, H.R. 891 and S. 274.

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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