Alexandria, Va. February 13, 2013 - The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today announced its federal and state legislative priorities with the release of the Independent Community Pharmacy Checklist. The one-page document details the main legislative actions NCPA and its members will advocate for this year at the federal and state levels.
"The health care landscape is changing rapidly as efforts to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs gain momentum," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Although there are many issues affecting the ability of patients to access their medications and have a choice in their pharmacist, we believe these legislative priorities have the greatest potential to benefit patients and the pharmacists who serve them."
Supporting Competition, Consumer Choice and Integrity in Pharmacy Benefits:
"The largest impediment to independent community pharmacies serving the needs of their patients is the bureaucratic morass they must wade through and the questionable business practices of often unregulated pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which are why greater oversight of this industry is badly needed," said Hoey.
NCPA supports legislative efforts to provide greater choice of pharmacies for consumers, basic transparency in generic prescription drug reimbursement calculations, and fairer standards for pharmacy audits at the federal level.
Expand Role of Pharmacists in Patient Care:
"The contributions pharmacists can provide are unnecessarily limited by not having pharmacists recognized as providers in Medicare Part B," said Hoey.
NCPA supports expanding the pharmacist's role in health care through coordinated care models, as a first step toward gaining provider status.
Support Medicare Beneficiaries’ Access to Diabetes Testing Supplies:
"Pending cuts to diabetes testing supplies under Medicare Part B are financially unsustainable and will compromise patient care as a result of the lack of choice," said Hoey. "Thus we encourage the U.S. Congress to act quickly to rectify this mistaken policy."
NCPA supports preserving patient access to diabetes testing supplies by removing the provision in the fiscal cliff deal to impose draconian reimbursement cuts to these vital products.
Protect Traditional Pharmacy Compounding:
"We believe traditional compounding is appropriately regulated at the state level and national solutions should be focused on rogue manufacturers such as the company alleged to be at the center of the fungal meningitis tragedy that occurred in late 2012," said Hoey.
NCPA supports protecting patient access to traditional compounding by ensuring that state boards are using existing authority to exert oversight of pharmacies and the Food and Drug Administration is using its existing authority to oversee manufacturers.
Support State Legislative Priorities:
NCPA supports embracing state legislative priorities for creating a level playing field by ensuring fair PBM audits of pharmacies; generic drug reimbursement and PBM transparency at the state level.
Preserve Military Families' Access to Community Pharmacies, Oppose Mail Order:
"Current 'reforms' coercing military beneficiaries to receive their prescription drugs through mail order pharmacies are shortsighted. There is evidence to suggest that prescription drug waste is increased by the use of mail order. We believe other costs saving solutions are available," said Hoey.
NCPA supports preserving military family access to community pharmacies by increasing generic prescription drug utilization, while preserving patient choice of pharmacies.
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 an $88.5 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com/.
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