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.

No Time to Read Everything in Your Email Box? | NCPA Executive Update | October 27, 2017

by NCPA | Oct 27, 2017

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

In a meeting this week, I heard a person mention receiving 400 emails a day. "Really?" I thought. Here in DC, the number of hours worked and emails received is sort of a badge of honor (I keep waiting to hear someone brag they worked 169 hours last week).

Unlike the person in my meeting, the average person receives 88 emails a day. Add that to the faxes, texts, and phone calls you receive (plus Twitter and Facebook and Instagram posts for some folks), and the amount of information that comes your way on a daily basis can be overwhelming.

A lot of those messages are helpful information that you have every intention of reading but time runs out and they get lost in a bundle of good intentions.

Some of those "lost" messages may come from NCPA. So below is a short summary of just five things that came from NCPA this month that bear repeating — and you will benefit from knowing:

Just a Pharmacist — The first pharmacy video by health care thought leader Zubin Damania, MD (aka ZDoggMD) was released during NCPA's Annual Meeting. The video depicts a typical (or not!) pharmacist counseling session and has received over 1.4 million views so far on all its social media outlets.

Congressional Hearings — The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing to discuss how our drug delivery system affects drug pricing. Representatives on behalf of the brand and generic pharmaceutical industry, the distributor industry, PBMs, and the American Pharmacists Association testified on how each entity impacted drug pricing. Three Senators — Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — noted that PBM price transparency is necessary and mentioned strong support for efforts to accomplish reforms. In that vein, NCPA submitted comments for the record, citing the need for PBM transparency and highlighted the proliferation of DIR fees in Medicare Part D.

In addition, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a full committee hearing — a rare thing — on the opioid crisis. NCPA is monitoring several opioid-related bills that could be folded into any future legislation and has provided guidance to bill authors to ensure patients have access to drugs they legitimately need, while also preventing diversion and abuse of prescription medications.

Next up, in November, NCPA has been invited to present at an FTC workshop entitled "Examining Prescription Drug Market Competition and PBMs." More on that next month.

2017 NCPA Digest sponsored by Cardinal Health — The latest edition of the Digest was released during NCPA's Annual Meeting and is now on the NCPA website (member login required). The Digest is used as a sort of "annual report" throughout the industry. Those who filled out the Digest survey receive access to exclusive material and a customized analysis of their pharmacy operation.

Medicare Open Enrollment — 2018 looks to be similar to 2017, except there are even more narrow network offerings. It is our understanding that three of the largest Part D PDP plans — offered through United HealthCare, Humana, and Aetna — again did not give independent pharmacies the opportunity to participate as preferred cost share pharmacies, denying patients of those pharmacies the freedom of choice when trying to utilize their plan's preferred benefits. More preferred networks underscore the importance of a strong relationship between your pharmacy and its PSAO and the importance of participating in a local CPESN USA - affilated network. Why the latter? The idea behind CPESN is that a clinically integrated network of pharmacies provides services of value to payers. If value-based payments are the payment standard for the future, CPESN is that vehicle.

NBC Nightly News — Consumer copay clawbacks were highlighted on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Oct. 17. Soon after, the online version, which included further detail, was released. NCPA-provided state data, surveys, and quotes were featured throughout the two stories. NCPA's network of pharmacy partners, who also shared commentary and info with us and NBC, were essential to our work in assisting NBC. Just another high-profile example of how we're helping shine a bright light on a PBM business model that contributes to the higher cost of prescription drugs.

There are, of course, many other things to share with you from October but these are five that I just didn't want you to miss. With yesterday's announcement of CVS Health's interest in Aetna and the growing rumors of Amazon's entry into the pharmacy space, November will be a busy month for NCPA and community pharmacy.

Now, back to those emails, calls, faxes and tweets ...

Doug Hoey

P.S. — We all know that pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers, but chances are your patients don't. That's why we've created new, free marketing materials for you to use in your pharmacy to encourage patient-pharmacist conversations. You can download the materials on the NCPA website (member login required), or check your mailbox next week for the November issue of America's Pharmacist® for a printed poster to hang in your store. Let us know what you think of them.