News Releases

NCPA Supports Senate Bill to Prohibit Retroactive Pharmacy DIR Fees

by NCPA | Feb 16, 2017

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb. 16, 2017) The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today endorsed bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) that would prohibit pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees from being applied after the point-of-sale for prescription drugs dispensed to Medicare beneficiaries. The legislation is a companion bill to H.R. 1038, introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this week. NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement on the Senate "Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act," S.413.

"This legislation would address a top concern for independent community pharmacy owners: huge monetary clawbacks assessed by Medicare drug plans, or their intermediaries, pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) corporations, long after prescriptions are filled and the pharmacy paid. These fees are often labeled direct and indirect remuneration, or pharmacy DIR fees. Like its House companion bill, H.R. 1038, S.413 would prohibit the imposition of such fees after pharmacies fill prescriptions and are reimbursed in Medicare Part D.

"It's important to note that these retroactive pharmacy DIR fees are as much a patient issue as they are a pharmacy business issue. These fees distort the accuracy of drug cost information on Medicare Plan Finder—the only publicly available resource accessible to Part D beneficiaries who rely on this information to make critical decisions about their health care. In addition, these DIR fees increase beneficiary out-of-pocket costs for needed medications and in doing so push them more quickly into the "donut hole"—the point at which they are responsible for 100% of prescription drug costs until they reach catastrophic coverage. In other words, Part D beneficiaries who need and use their drug plan are punished the most by the fees. That's not fair, and it needs to be corrected by law.

"There is broad, bipartisan alarm in Congress and from Medicare officials over pharmacy DIR fees. S.413 and its House counterpart, H.R. 1038, will help address the abuses that pharmacy DIR fees visit upon patients and pharmacies as well as the Medicare program and taxpayers. We will work aggressively for passage of this legislation."


* Additional U.S. Senators who are sponsors of S.413, include (in alphabetical order: Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Senator James Lankford (R-OK), and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS).

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The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $81.5 billion health care marketplace and employ more than 250,000 individuals on a full or part-time basis. To learn more, go to www.ncpanet.org, visit facebook.com/commpharmacy, or follow NCPA on Twitter @Commpharmacy.