NCPA Executive Update

NCPA Executive Update delivers insights on legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry developments from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, to NCPA members and pharmacy leaders every Friday.

Pharmacy 'Wish Book' | NCPA Executive Update | December 16, 2016

by NCPA | Dec 16, 2016

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

Years ago, Sears used to send out its "Wish Book" catalog (JCPenney and Montgomery Ward also had similar versions). The front half was often dedicated to clothes, tools, gardening, and automotive, but the second half of the catalog was a kid's dream come true—full of toys and everything a kid could fantasize. The Sears Wish Book is largely online now but remembering it made me think, "What would be on pharmacy's wish list?"

Here's a few community pharmacy gift ideas:

Competition on price and service. Rather than patients being steered into certain pharmacies, consumers deserve to be able to go to the pharmacy of their choice. Let Rudolph's nose so bright guide him to the pharmacy he chooses.

PBMs as PBAs. Well before Sears stopped printing its "big book" in 1993, PBMs functioned like pharmacy benefit administrators. They processed claims and, to a certain degree, worked collaboratively with pharmacies and manufacturers. Collectively, the business model made paying for prescriptions easier for consumers. That was 30 years and approximately $300 billion in added prescription drug costs ago.

Less red tape. While red is a color of the season, community pharmacy could use a whole lot less red tape preventing it from spending more time with patients and forcing pharmacists to jump through often misguided administrative hoops. For example, the premise for HIPAA to protect patient information deserves a Hallelujah Chorus, but the execution has hit some sour notes. Audits are another example. Most pharmacies understand the need for an audit, but predatory audits that use scrivener errors as the basis for their penalty make the Grinch envious.

Finding EpiPen's lost $300. Mylan's CEO said that of EpiPen's $608 WAC price, the company only keeps $284. We know the pharmacy at best only makes a fraction of that $608, so under whose tree does the other $300+ go?

Access to specialty drugs. Which patients often have the most fragile conditions? Which patients often need the most expensive medications? The answer to both is patients that need specialty medications. So, where are those patients often forced to access their drugs? From a mailbox or from a package dropped off on their front doorstep (the low last night here in Washington, D.C., was 17 degrees). They might as well have been on Santa's sleigh at the North Pole!

Congressional hearing. NCPA's wish list includes a congressional hearing that we requested last fall to find out where the missing EpiPen dollars are going!

Being able to practice at the top of our license. Pharmacists are ready and eager to engage with other health care providers to coordinate patient care. Provider status would look good under a decorated tree. We will keep this on the list until its ready to be unwrapped.

Undoubtedly, there are other things to add to the list, but this is a good start for the 2017 shopping season.

Doug Hoey