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 other Friday.

It's local and it's personal – and it's making a difference

by NCPA | Mar 01, 2019

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

You've all heard the phrase, "All politics is local." Most people attribute that phrase to former House Speaker Tip O'Neill. No matter who said it first, there's one important thing to remember: In the ever-changing world of politics, it's one of the few immutable rules.

Why? Because when things ARE CLOSE AND personal, they matter more. It's easy not to care about things that happen in faraway countries, even across the country. But when things start affecting your neighbor, your aunt, the man down the street, that gets your attention.

We're seeing a lot of movement on pharmacy issues in statehouses across the country. We're just two months into the year, and we are already seeing real momentum on the issues that matter most to independent pharmacists. If you're looking for some good news as we head into a new month, we've got it: Our message is being heard.

Take Medicaid pharmacy payment reform. NCPA's WIG – that's Wildly Important Goal – is to change the pharmacy payment model. That takes many forms – carving out the Medicaid prescription drug benefits, spread pricing prohibitions, changing PBM reporting requirements, setting reimbursement floors, and realizing compensation in Medicaid for patient services through enhanced services networks like CPESN®. So far, 23 bills dealing with this issue have been introduced in 15 states. These bills will save taxpayer dollars, and that matters to your neighbor, your aunt, and the man down the street.

We've been shining a relentless spotlight on PBM practices, and it's paying off. PBMs strategically have operated quietly, under the radar. Today, there's scrutiny – and frankly, outrage. And we're seeing the result of that: 194 bills introduced in 40 states. Those bills cover a variety of PBM-related issues, such as PBM licensure, fair audit provisions, PBM transparency and disclosure requirements, and patient protections. This kind of momentum means that PBMs are being forced to account for their practices. We'll keep shining that light and working to support our state partners on this important issue.

We believe that as America's most accessible health care professionals, pharmacists offer a level of service that's sorely needed by your neighbor, your aunt, and the man down the street. In 30 states, 95 bills have been introduced to expand what pharmacists can prescribe and provide to patients. These range from hormonal contraceptives, tobacco cessation products, immunizations, and point-of-care testing. Saving people time and money and making medical care easier to get is another way to affect the lives of your neighbor, your aunt, and the man down the street. The personal attention and care that go along with these services will never be matched by all the Amazon/Pill Packs and big-box pharmacies in the world.

Here's another old saying: "Slow and steady wins the race." NCPA has kept a steady flame under these issues, and we've reached the boiling point. That steady heat, plus leadership from our state partners, is making things happen. It won't be easy but we're going to get there. It's personal for your neighbor, your aunt, and the man down the street. We keep telling their stories, and they'll lead to change, because all politics is truly local.


Doug Hoey