TRICARE patients should have choice of how they receive their prescription medications to improve health and prevent costly forms of care
Amid the release of President Obama's FY2013 Budget and Congressional testimony delivered by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta this week, National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE and National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA called on Congress to reject budget proposals that would limit pharmacy choice for TRICARE beneficiaries.
A provision in the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget of the U.S. Government would discourage TRICARE patients from utilizing community pharmacies by increasing copays for prescription medications at community pharmacies, and lowering copayments for prescriptions filled via mail order.
Panetta testified this week before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, and is a scheduled witness at a U.S. House Armed Services Committee hearing today on the White House's budget proposal for the Pentagon, which administers the TRICARE program.
"Congress should reject, and the Obama administration should drop, short-sighted policies that would penalize TRICARE beneficiaries accessing essential health services provided at community pharmacies. A greater reliance on mail-order pharmacies will circumvent proven community pharmacy-provided services that have demonstrated savings by encouraging the utilization of more affordable medicines, detecting chronic illness early, and increasing patients' proper utilization of medicine as prescribed," said Anderson and Hoey.
"Similarly, saddling our nation's service members and their families with higher out-of-pocket costs in this still-sluggish economy will reduce their access to life-saving and cost-reducing healthcare services. Instead of hampering access to community pharmacy-provided services, the Administration should give TRICARE beneficiaries a fair choice in their healthcare options," Anderson and Hoey stated.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies—from regional chains with four stores to national companies. Chains operate 39,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.7 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill nearly 2.6 billion prescriptions annually, which is more than 72 percent of annual prescriptions in the United States. The total economic impact of all retail stores with pharmacies transcends their $830 billion in annual sales. Every $1 spent in these stores creates a ripple effect of $1.96 in other industries, for a total economic impact of $1.57 trillion, equal to 11 percent of GDP. NACDS represents 137 chains that operate these pharmacies in neighborhoods across America, and NACDS members also include more than 900 pharmacy and consumer packaged goods suppliers and service providers, and over 60 international members from 23 countries. For more information about NACDS, visit www.NACDS.org.
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 nearly 40% 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.
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