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.

If Not NCPA, Then Who? | NCPA Executive Update | June 16, 2017

by NCPA | Jun 16, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

Walking down the street of a concrete jungle in a dark navy pinstripe suit, white shirt and red and blue striped tie. Wearing uncomfortable shoes. With a heat index of 96 degrees. Sweating. Sounds crazy, right?

Anywhere else, it would be—but this is Washington, D.C., and that was the scene this past Wednesday as I walked back from participating in a Brookings Institution panel discussion (video) about generic pricing.

A new paper was released this week from well-respected University of Southern California researchers who made a number of assertions—among them that pharmacies were making too much gross profit (or pharmacy retention, as it was termed) on generic products. For example, it was stated that of the cost a consumer pays for a generic product, one-third is for the price of the product, and the pharmacy gets the remaining two-thirds! I strongly disagreed with that assertion and, fortunately, was on the panel to make that precise point. Other panelists included representatives from CVS and the associations representing health insurance plans and generic manufacturers.

I bring up the panel because, as I was walking to the subway afterward, it occurred to me: If we had not been there representing community pharmacists, who would have spoken up for us? The Brookings Institution panel is one of many think tank, Congressional, regulatory agency, media, and professional events that take place in the D.C. area every week where community pharmacists are discussed.

In some of those meetings, community pharmacies wear a white hat. In others, the pricing model of community pharmacies is misunderstood at best, and misrepresented at worst. By being there, NCPA staff are able to correct misperceptions and reinforce (and remind) very influential groups that community pharmacists provide an amazing service with an excellent return on investment.

At this meeting, the representative was me, but in many other cases, NCPA’s D.C.-based team members are present day-in and day-out to speak up for your interests and those of the patients we serve. I mention this not asking for a pat on the back—it is our job—and as a reminder that “just doing our job” means we are passionately, assertively giving community pharmacy a voice in the nation’s capital.

Another example for which we were there for you this week was at a Senate hearing on drug pricing on Tuesday. Only in D.C. do hearings like this take place. The hearing was a fact-finding mission on why drugs cost what they do—a subject in which invariably pharmacy’s role came up. You can bet publicly traded companies are pulling out all the stops to be heard. NCPA’s comments made sure community pharmacy’s voice was heard.

The Washington, D.C., area is not the native home for most of its citizens. It’s a transient region with moving vans coming and going—and yes, sweating in the June sun—every day. They’re coming and going because so much is happening here that shapes our world—including the world of health care and community pharmacy

NCPA is here and NCPA is there—at meetings where your value, your business’ very existence, is being contemplated. The case for community pharmacy gets heard.

We don’t issue a press release each time we represent you in an influential meeting. We’re just doing our jobs. Only in D.C., right?

Doug Hoey