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NCPA's Blog - The Dose

The Dose
  • PBM Arguments Don't Hold Up to Scrutiny

    Apr 25, 2017

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    The national trade group for pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) corporations has predictably come out in opposition to the prescription drug and PBM transparency legislation that NCPA and its allies will champion at the NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In and throughout the 115th Congress. Yet many of the anti-transparency PBM arguments unravel upon closer examination.

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  • More Misleading Information From the PBM Lobby

    Apr 03, 2017

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    As evidence continues to mount that retroactive "DIR" fees can have an adverse impact on taxpayers and beneficiaries of Medicare prescription drug plans, the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) lobby is grasping at straws to prevent the enactment of the Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act, (S. 413/H.R. 1038). This bipartisan and common sense approach would bring some degree of transparency on how "DIR" fees are calculated and assessed.

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  • NCPA Members Helping to Correct the Record

    Mar 31, 2017

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    NCPA's communications team works to dispel misconceptions about pharmacists in the media. But in the relentless 24-hour news cycle, it can be hard to keep up. That's why we welcome our members alerting us to something they heard or read that needs to be addressed.

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  • More Bad News for PBMs: Another Report Suggests They Contribute to Higher Drug Prices

    Mar 28, 2017

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    A recent report by the American Consumer Institute (ACI) is the latest to take aim at PBMs for their role in increasing prescription drug costs. ACI's ConsmerGram entitled "Pharmacy Benefit Managers: Market Power and Lack of Transparency" makes a compelling case that the lack of transparency in PBM operations contribute to higher drug costs for patients and plan sponsors and also negatively impact retail pharmacies, particularly independent pharmacies.

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  • Another Reporter Turns Up the Heat on PBMS

    Mar 17, 2017

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    The success of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) comes from floating below the public's radar and framing a narrative about how much money they supposedly save the system. Independent community pharmacies' strategic efforts to rein in these drug middlemen occasionally get a welcome boost from investigative journalism.

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  • MYTH/FACT on PBM Arguments Against Bipartisan MAC Legislation

    Mar 13, 2017

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    The lights are growing brighter and hotter on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) which prefer to operate in anonymity. Bloomberg, local TV stations and many other news outlets are examining the PBMs' contributions to rising prescription drug costs. Perhaps this growing pressure has reached a breaking point as evidenced by the recent and highly deceptive PBM reaction to bipartisan generic drug pricing legislation concerning MACs. (MACs, or maximum allowable costs, are proprietary PBM formula for reimbursing pharmacies for dispensing generic drugs.)

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  • 3 Reasons Why USP Supports Pharmacist Health Care Provider Status Legislation

    Feb 28, 2017

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    NCPA is pleased to cross-post this blog piece from USP CEO Ronald T. Piervincenzi, Ph.D., noting why the organization supports provider status. Read the piece on the USP website here.

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  • Ever Wondered What Politicians and Pharmacists Have in Common?

    Feb 22, 2017

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    My first rotation of 2017 started out at the National Community Pharmacists Association. I expected NCPA would be involved with community pharmacy but didn't expect that it would be so deeply involved with government policymakers. As a fourth year student about to transition into the practice setting, being aware of current health care issues and polices is fundamental. During my first week, I began interviewing the staff members to learn about their experiences. Given the unique path that they each took to land at the same destination, I realized early on that I was about to embark upon a very diverse learning experience.

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  • Learning More About Strategic Initiatives and Government Affairs

    Feb 22, 2017

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    As a student pharmacist at Roseman University of Health Sciences in South Jordan, Utah, I was an active member in our NCPA Student Chapter, serving as the Chapter Historian. Now in my final year of pharmacy school, I had the opportunity for a rotation at NCPA based on my interest in association management. Over the course of six weeks, I gained a thorough understanding of association management, but more than that, I have a solid foundation of the goals and values NCPA represents.

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  • Congress Should Explore Patient Access and Outcomes in Confirmation Hearings for Medicare Chief

    Feb 15, 2017

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    The upcoming hearing by the Senate Finance committee to vet the nomination of Seema Verma to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is perhaps the most important non-cabinet level confirmation hearing the Senate will hold. The Trump Administration and Congressional leaders have laid out a robust health care agenda for the current Congress, and many of these policies would have an effect, either directly or indirectly, on patient access to affordable prescription medications, which would ultimately fall on CMS to implement.

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  • States Should Empower RPhs to Do More for Medicaid Patients

    Feb 10, 2017

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    Medicaid is encouraging states to be flexible by expanding pharmacists' scope of practice so they can provide additional prescription drug and patient care services to beneficiaries. This is yet another sign of the growing momentum to permit pharmacists, who are still underutilized in their capacity as clinically trained, accessible medication experts, do more for patients. Pending legislation in Congress would recognize pharmacists as health care providers under Medicare Part B, which would allow them to be compensated for medication therapy management, patient education, and chronic diseases management services. A number of states have enacted their own provider status legislation.

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  • Backstage Pass: If It Ain't Broke...Oh Wait.

    Jan 31, 2017

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    Editor's note: We are pleased to feature a new series of blog posts this year on The Dose from 2016-2017 NCPA President DeAnn Mullins, Pharmacist, CDE highlighting the changing health care landscape and what this means for community pharmacy. Join DeAnn as she takes you behind the scenes for an honest look at her experiences as NCPA President, pharmacy owner & Mom.

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  • 2016 NCPA Digest: A Roadmap for Independent Community Pharmacies

    Dec 12, 2016

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    Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on the Cardinal Health thought leadership website Essential Insights. NCPA cross-posted the commentary here as well.

    In today's hyper-competitive marketplace independent community pharmacy owners need every tool available to keep up with current trends and continue innovating. To that end, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) publishes the annual NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health. The 2016 NCPA Digest offers important findings about which every independent community pharmacy should take note.

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  • Prescription Drug Cost Savings Exist Outside of PBMs

    Dec 06, 2016

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    In the past several months, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have been under increased scrutiny over their contributions to rising prescription drug prices. A recent op-ed in STAT by NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, chronicled PBM practices such as rebate pumping, copay clawbacks, and spread pricing that have been scrutinized by publications such as Business Insider and the Columbus Dispatch.

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  • Legislators Make Time to Meet with Independent Pharmacists Prior to Election Day

    Nov 16, 2016

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    The Congressional schedule for 2016 has been unique. Congress took an extended recess over the summer, and shortly after, returned home for another 6 week in-district work period, during which several legislators took time to visit a local pharmacy or to meet with constituent pharmacists.

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  • Breaking News... But Not About the Presidential Race!

    Nov 07, 2016

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    There are many things that I won't miss at the conclusion of this exhausting election season. Maybe, just maybe, we will finally get a break from the relentless use of "Breaking News" headlines during cable news programs or on news websites. However, last Thursday afternoon a huge story emerged from Bloomberg.com. Granted it was mostly drowned out in the Clinton vs. Trump homestretch frenzy that is catnip for the media, but the ramifications are still enormous.

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  • Independent Pharmacists Can Be Key Allies in Reducing Hospital Admissions

    Nov 02, 2016

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    A recent report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entitled "Rural Hospital Participation and Performance in Value-Based Purchasing and Other Delivery System Reform Initiatives" revealed that hospitals participating in value-based payment programs struggle on readmissions metrics defined in the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP). In fact, the report found fact 79% of rural and 76% of urban hospitals were penalized based on these measures.

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  • Independent Pharmacies Could Be High-Value Partners in ACOs

    Oct 31, 2016

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    There is a growing trend in the health care system towards payment models that reward quality of care and patient results. For example, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) established Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) under Medicare as a way to focus payments on quality. An ACO is a health care organization formed by a group of health care providers representing different specialties in which payments are tied to various quality and cost metrics.

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  • A Gumbo of Articles on PBM Corporate Shenanigans - Part Two

    Oct 28, 2016

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    Business Insider reporter Linette Lopez devoted nearly 2,500 words to a tour de force article examining how PBMs negatively impact prescription drug prices. It was headlined, "Here's how a $50 drug ends up costing you $700 in America's healthcare system." While this is the third of my post-convention "gumbo of noteworthy articles," it stands alone for the sheer magnitude of what it reveals.

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  • A Gumbo of Articles on PBM Corporate Shenanigans - Part One

    Oct 28, 2016

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    Feedback from the 2016 NCPA Annual Convention has been overwhelmingly positive. When not networking or learning, I suspect most attendees found time to partake in New Orleans' delicious cuisine, including gumbo. As I have written previously, the past several months have been a trying time for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Independent community pharmacies have been shouting from the rooftops for years about the problems with these lightly-regulated drug middlemen, but now the media is paying attention. No longer are PBMs allowed to operate below-the-radar, especially when it comes to some their most objectionable business practices.

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