NCPA Supports Department of Defense Regulation Requiring Drug Manufacturers Pay Rebates Into TRICARE Program

Alexandria, Va. - March 16, 2010

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) supports U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to collect the same manufacturer rebates for the TRICARE Retail Pharmacy Program that are applicable to prescriptions filled at TRICARE mail order pharmacies and military treatment facilities. The recommendations were contained in formalcomments submitted last week

TRICARE Retail Pharmacy Network prescriptions are subject to "federal ceiling prices" (FCPs) under law, which NCPA contends should be achieved through rebates paid by drug manufacturers. DOD has been examining whether other affected parties in the supply chain—including retail pharmacies—should bear any costs associated with imposing FCPs. 

NCPA believes that enforcing current law and readopting the March 17, 2009 Final Rule will prevent drug manufacturers from continuing to deny the DoD billions of dollars in rebates for TRICARE retail prescriptions through litigation. Furthermore, the rebates drug manufacturers have paid to DoD are applied mostly to mail order prescriptions. Without change, TRICARE beneficiaries may be encouraged to a greater extent to use mail order and lose the face-to-face interaction with their trusted local pharmacists. 

"The Department of Defense provides prescription drug benefits to active duty, reserve, and retired military families and wants to reduce cost, maintain access and produce the best health outcomes possible," said Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, NCPA executive vice president and CEO. "However, drug manufacturers undercut those goals by not paying their fair share of federal ceiling prices. Studies indicate pharmacists are critical to patients in impacting medication adherence, but if drug manufacturers continue to only pay rebates for mail order prescriptions then that won’t occur. The Department of Defense should hold the drug manufacturers accountable for all their financial obligations." 

"Without changes, the choice TRICARE beneficiaries take for granted about where to get their prescription drugs might fall by the wayside as increased use of mail order would become an unfortunate, but possible reality," added Roberts. 

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% 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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