New NCPA Ads Feature Community Pharmacy Proposals to Reduce the Federal Deficit



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Alexandria, Va. - October 17, 2011

With the congressional "super-committee" inching closer to making budget decisions to reducing the deficit, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has developed two new advertisements reinforcing how local pharmacists can reduce federal health care costs.

"Community pharmacists can help reduce healthcare expenses by maximizing the appropriate utilization of lower-cost generic drugs and through face-to-face, expert counseling on the proper use of medications as prescribed for patients," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Small business community pharmacies are ready and willing to work constructively with policymakers to address rising medical costs while maintaining patients' access to the cost-cutting services of local pharmacists."

NCPA first offered its recommendations in a September 7th letter to "super-committee" members.

NCPA's first ad focuses on overall deficit reduction. It offers policymakers five recommendations to lower spending:

  • Utilize local pharmacists to increase the appropriate use of low-cost generic drugs in Medicare Part D, Medicaid and TRICARE.
  • Reduce an estimated $290 billion in avoidable health care spending by empowering pharmacists to counsel patients face-to-face on proper medication use.
  • Collect billions of dollars in drug manufacturer rebates retained by middlemen pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in Medicare, Medicaid and FEHBP.
  • Reduce costly waste in mail-order pharmacy, particularly "mandatory mail" plans.
  • Allow community pharmacists to continue providing advice and testing supplies to keep Medicare patients with diabetes healthy.

The second ad highlights H.R. 1936, the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act, legislation introduced by Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.). In addition to the traditional dispensing of prescription medication, community pharmacists play a vital role helping people with diabetes by providing expert advice, patient education and testing supplies to manage the disease. The bipartisan bill would reduce the deficit and permanently exempt independent community pharmacies (defined as 10 or fewer pharmacies under common ownership) from competitive bidding prices in the Medicare Part B Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) program. A recently survey of more than 800 community pharmacists found 84 percent of them would be forced to stop providing access to diabetes testing supplies if they had to competitively bid or accept prices set by that process.

In addition, NCPA has developed an analysis of the many cuts community pharmacies have already had to absorb in recent years. That document finds that community pharmacies have seen prescription drug reimbursement slashed by more than $15 billion. Between 2005 and 2010 the number of independent community pharmacies that are operating at an overall financial loss has increased by 64 percent and now accounts for 23 percent of independent community 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 a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense over 37% 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.

Ask Your Family Pharmacist TM