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.

Now That Was a Special Order | NCPA Executive Update | March 3, 2017

by NCPA | Mar 03, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

Unless you're a C-SPAN junkie, you probably weren't watching TV Wednesday night when the House devoted an hour-long "special order" to floor speeches about PBMs. Yes, you read that right. PBMs. Discussed in the House chamber. Spoiler alert: the PBMs didn't fare very well.

Led by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), several pharmacy champions denounced PBM tactics that are hurting patients and pharmacies. Collins was joined by Reps. Brian Babin (R-Texas), Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and Austin Scott (R-Ga.). In addition, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) submitted a statement, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) was among the lawmakers who tweeted their support.

Here's a snippet that captures the tenor of the speeches, this one from Collins:

"Community pharmacists might be afraid to stand up to PBMs. Community pharmacists many times are basically scared into submission... My pharmacists can't speak, but I can, and I will remind the PBMs one more time: You can't audit me. You can go audit for profit, which you do every day. You can go hit them, but you can't hit me. I will continue to be a voice for community pharmacists."

An excerpt from remarks by long-time pharmacist Carter:

"We also need to focus on what one of the biggest problems is in escalating drug prices, and that is the PBMs. They bring no value whatsoever to the system. They put no profit back in research and development. Communities' pharmacists play an important role in our health care system."

NCPA is proud to have supported the lawmakers who spoke out against the PBMs. We were honored when they used our infographic during the special order to help explain how retroactive pharmacy DIR fees work. And, we believe that contrary to what they say, PBMs contribute to the higher costs of prescription drugs.

The disinfectant of sunlight finally is being beamed on to the murky PBM world. In case you missed them, check out videos and articles from yesterday's eNews. Pay special attention the two-part Atlanta TV news investigation of pharmacy middlemen. (You can also read there about our new MAC transparency legislation, H.R. 1316.)

Now for a 'special order' from NCPA: We're activating our grassroots network to urge enactment of H.R. 1316 and legislation to ban retroactive pharmacy DIR fees S. 413 / H.R. 1038. Many of you will be getting a brief phone call soon from one of our NCPA advocacy team members to make an "ask" of you. Please take that call. I'll be sending you an email Monday to remind you. We need to get the DIR and MAC bills teed-up for hearings in Congress and ultimately passed, and we must have your engagement to do that.

Doug Hoey

P.S. On April 26-27, we'll be filling the halls of the Congress with white-coated independent pharmacists who are passionate about their practice and tired of the tyranny of PBMs. You need to be one of those pharmacists. Register for NCPA's Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In. For your convenience, we've condensed this year's schedule and reduced the price!