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.

We Asked and You Told Us. Thanks | NCPA Executive Update | February 03, 2017

by NCPA | Feb 03, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

Our fourth annual NCPA member priority survey on advocacy and business issues closed last month, and I wanted to share the results as soon as I could. While the top three advocacy issues remain the same as last year, their order has shifted – a reflection of PBMs’ accelerated deployment of a tactic that is wreaking havoc on independent community pharmacies and their ability to continue to serve patients.

The top advocacy priority chosen by survey respondents for 2017 is to end retroactive direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) pharmacy fees. One-third of members who responded said DIR fees were the issue having the greatest impact on them. Last year, DIRs were in the second spot with 20%.

Here’s how we’re tackling this issue:

  • Late last year, NCPA’s advocacy efforts led to introduction of bipartisan legislation in Congress that would ban retroactive pharmacy DIRs in Medicare Part D.

  • We also assembled a broad coalition of 99 pharmacy stakeholder groups to endorse the measures and write the bill cosponsors, praising them for their support.

  • We worked with members of Congress to send multiple letters to CMS urging it to finalize DIR reporting guidelines so pharmacies would know the fees at the point of dispensing.

  • Since the 115th Congress convened on Jan. 3, NCPA has been on Capitol Hill working with last year’s sponsors and cosponsors to get the bills reintroduced.

  • In part at our urging, CMS released an analysis of DIR fees’ impact and found that they do push seniors into the donut hole faster and that they do increase government costs, as we’ve long said.

We’ll continue to be aggressive in advocating for the elimination of those fees, of course.

Rounding out the top three advocacy priorities are creating greater transparency in generic prescription drug reimbursements and inclusion of an "any willing pharmacy" provision for Medicare Part D "preferred pharmacy" prescription drug plans.

All three of these are intractable problems that are adversely affecting your businesses and your patients. Thanks to your past grassroots efforts, solving these problems has had strong bipartisan support in Congress.

Topping the business practice priorities was helping pharmacies create community pharmacy pay-for-performance networks. NCPA is partnering with Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) in the facilitation of local enhanced services networks nationwide. Local networks are in the early to mature stages of formation in more than 20 states and growing.

Issues 2 and 3 under business practices were helping pharmacies operate more efficiently and at lower operating costs, and helping pharmacies embrace new revenue-generating niches. In both cases, NCPA’s annual convention programming, articles in America’s Pharmacist, and NCPA’s monthly CE webinar series are helping to show members those opportunities.

While not part of the survey questioning, NCPA also is focused on the new political landscape and potentially dramatic changes in health care. We will make sure the voice of independent community pharmacies is heard. Our main objective is always to maintain patient access to prescription drug services at community pharmacies and to continue pushing for pharmacists to be fully utilized as clinically trained medication experts who improve health outcomes while reducing costs.

There's no shortage of things for NCPA, as the voice of community pharmacy, to focus its attention on. These surveys help direct and prioritize our advocacy efforts and resources. Now that you’ve spoken, we’ll be redoubling our efforts to achieve these goals.

Doug Hoey

P.S. By the way: You can help us make progress on these priorities. Come to Washington, D.C. April 26-27 for our Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In. We've condensed the fly-in schedule so you get the maximum bang for your buck for the time you’re in D.C. Especially this year, with change in the air, we need you to come meet with your lawmakers.