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.

Where Old-Fashioned Ways Still Work Best | NCPA Executive Update | March 2, 2018

by NCPA | Mar 02, 2018

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

There's no shortage of ways to connect with others in today's high-tech world. We can call from anywhere via a mobile phone. We can email, text, tweet and post. All those are effective and efficient, but for really getting your message across, it's hard to top the old-fashioned way — face-to-face communications.

When you sit across a table from a lawmaker, the issue becomes personal. You put the face of a constituent with an issue they're hearing a lot about, and suddenly, your issues rise on their radar.

That's one of the reasons that, for 50 years, NCPA has sponsored its annual Congressional Pharmacy Summit. A lot has changed in a half century, but one thing has stayed the same: It's a time to meet face-to-face with members of Congress to advocate for our priority issues, and it makes a powerful statement to lawmakers. Letters, emails and phone calls can be effective, but when a lawmaker connects with you, hears about your business and your patients, knows that you took the time to come to Capitol Hill ... well, that makes a long-lasting impression.

Your participation at this year's Summit, April 11-12, is part of the solution to changing your day-to-day practice (Register now).

  • We've put a spotlight on PBMs and their questionable practices. Many lawmakers probably saw the NBC Nightly News story about PBMs back in October.

  • Members of Congress have read stories in the national media about how PBMs negatively affect consumers, drug prices and community pharmacies.

  • They've asked questions about PBM practices at multiple House and Senate hearings—including three senators asking questions to a panel of four FTC commissioner nominees (there are only a total of five FTC commissioners) about how PBMs are impacting community pharmacies.

  • They're likely aware of the white paper released by the White House's Council of Economic Advisers in February pointing out the lack of transparency in PBM business practices and suggesting that policies to change the PBM market could reduce the price of drugs paid by consumers.

We know there's strong interest in our priority legislation on Capitol Hill. Three times in the past three months, NCPA representatives have been invited to testify before the influential House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee (we're proud of that frequency; it's almost unheard of). They're hearing our voice, and they want to know more.

Now they need to hear from the folks back home.

You'll have a chance to meet and thank the legislators who are friends to community pharmacy, legislators like Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who introduced a bill to end retroactive pharmacy DIR fees. These interactions boost our profile among people who can be pharmacy champions. And we need as many of those as we can get.

NCPA's priority legislation is inspired by what YOU told us what was most important:

  • The Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act (S. 413/H.R. 1038): Would end retroactive pharmacy DIR fees that create havoc in pharmacy operations predictability and push Medicare patients more quickly into the Part D coverage "donut hole."

  • The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (H.R. 1316): Would create more transparency for generic prescription drug pricing and reimbursement in federal health programs.

  • The Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act (S. 1044/H.R. 1939): Would give Medicare beneficiaries more access to discounted copays for prescription drugs at their pharmacy of choice.

  • The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 109): Would recognize pharmacists as providers under the Medicare Part D program enabling them to more fully utilize their education, training, and expertise in areas if their located in a medically underserved area, health professional shortage area, or medically underserved population.

Your worst days (professionally) this year are likely related to these priority issues. We know. Members tell us. This legislation will help. We advocate for them every day. But that high-touch, person-to-person connection between you and your representative can really make a difference. We've seen it work for 50 years.

Don't put registering for the Summit on your "to do" list. Register now and mark it done. Yes, there is a special room rate that's only available until March 16 — or until rooms sell out — but even more compelling is that pharmacy has momentum to change how prescriptions are paid for today!

Join us for the Summit. Invest two days in the future of your profession. It's the old-fashioned way that worked 50 years ago, and making the human touch still works today.

Doug Hoey