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.

At the Doctor's Office | NCPA Executive Update | May 12, 2017

by NCPA | May 12, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

One of the benefits of being a member of NCPA is that we represent the collective voice of more than 22,000 pharmacies. Yesterday, I was proud to serve as the representative for you in a meeting with the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Dr. Tom Price.

Most of you know that CMS is part of HHS and oversees Medicare and Medicaid. These two programs represent a disproportionately large percentage of community pharmacies' business compared to the average drugstore.

Many of you may also know that Secretary Price is a former member of Congress from Georgia and is a physician. So he knows health care and has an appreciation for some of the challenges that pharmacists face.

Earlier this year we requested a meeting with the Secretary to talk about the role of PBMs in rising prescription drug spending and how community pharmacists can help lower those costs and improve health outcomes. Late last week we were honored to receive an invitation from his office to a roundtable with a few of our pharmacy and pharmacist association colleagues to meet with the Secretary.

It was an excellent opportunity for NCPA to talk directly to the Secretary and CMS Administrator Seema Verma and share with them some suggestions for solutions that would benefit consumers, taxpayers, and the pharmacy small business owners who serve them.

While I don't want to go into detail on the issues we covered since the Secretary is still meeting with others who influence prescription drug pricing, know that we emphasized your top concerns. We also noted that just over 90% of the average community pharmacy's revenue comes from prescription sales. So community pharmacists are the "canary in the coal mine"—the first to feel the impact of any change in prescription drug pricing and payment policy or new market trends.

Community pharmacists are also a group that can make an immediate difference in helping to lower overall health care costs by improving adherence and by being unleashed to use their unique combination of expertise about medications and knowledge about drug prices.

We know we are one of a number of health care industry voices Secretary Price and his team are listening to. It was an honor to be invited to speak with him, and we are optimistic that input we were able to provide will help inform new policies from the HHS office that has so much impact on the lives of community pharmacists and the patients they serve. NCPA will continue to make the case to HHS, CMS, Congress and elsewhere on behalf of your community pharmacies and the patients that you serve.

Doug Hoey