NCPA Statement on Study Finding Slower Prescription Drug Cost Increases

Alexandria, Va. - April 19, 2011

National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Executive Vice President and CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement today in response to a new report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics estimating that prescription drug spending increased 2.3 percent in 2010, down from an estimated 5.1 percent increase in 2009:

"This report offers good news and bad news. On the positive side, the increased use of generic drugs appears to have reduced costs dramatically for many patients, employers, government agencies and other health plan sponsors. Independent community pharmacists are proud to play a leading role in maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic medications. Local pharmacists consistently dispense generic drugs more frequently than mail order pharmacies owned by major pharmacy benefit managers CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions. Community pharmacists can work with public and private health plans to deliver even greater savings in years ahead as more generic drugs become available.

"Now the bad news. The downward trend in prescription drug spending appears to also be driven by the sluggish economy, which has cost many Americans their health insurance coverage and led others to delay or forgo needed medical treatment. Pharmacists witness this trend every day as they work with patients to find solutions to help them afford their medication. The costs of patients not taking their medication properly has already been estimated at a staggering $290 billion each year and could rise higher if this trend continues. Community pharmacists look forward to continuing to work with policymakers, employers and other plan sponsors to try to help patients use their medications safely and properly and to ensure patients are receiving the most appropriate and affordable drug therapies."

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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