ALEXANDRIA, Va. (April 10, 2018)—This week, hundreds of community pharmacists will converge on Capitol Hill for two days. They will share with members of Congress a prescription for lowering drug costs and expanding pharmacy access and choice for seniors during the National Community Pharmacists Association’s 2018 Congressional Pharmacy Summit.

These issues stem from allowing pharmacy benefit managers to operate with little regulation or oversight, a situation that NCPA has worked tirelessly to change—and one that is finally getting national attention.

“We’ve got some strong tailwinds behind us as we go into our 50th annual Summit,” said NCPA Chief Executive Officer, B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA. “There’s been intense media attention on PBMs and their opaque business practices recently, and for good reason. The public is figuring out that prescription drug discounts are staying with PBMs and not being passed down to the people who need them the most. They’re seeing that PBMs are often paying themselves considerably more than they’re reimbursing community pharmacies. They’re even seeing patients charged more at the pharmacy counter than the net pharmacy reimbursement for the medication, and PBMs are pocketing the difference. Our conversations this week with members of Congress will focus on pending legislation that can address a range of PBM practices that disadvantage patients, pharmacies and taxpayers.”

Pharmacists will urge Congress to support three priority bills that create greater transparency for PBMs and improve patient access to pharmacy services. They will also press Congress to grant pharmacists provider status under Medicare Part B, fix lingering problems with compounding regulations, and offer recommendations for stemming the opioid epidemic.

These efforts will be supported by a week-long advertising campaign in leading Washington, D.C. news outlets. 

The legislative priorities for independent community pharmacies are: 

  • “The Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act” (S. 413/H.R. 1038): Would end retroactive pharmacy DIR fees that push Medicare patients more quickly into the Part D coverage "donut hole."
  • “The Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act” (S. 1044/H.R. 1939): Would expand pharmacy choice for Medicare beneficiaries seeking discounted copays in preferred plans.
  • “The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act” (H.R. 1316): Would create more transparency for generic prescription drug pricing and reimbursement in federal health programs.

Community pharmacists will also hear from experts at the Hilton in Old Town Alexandria, Va. Two panels of note are:

  • Medicare Part D & Drug Accessibility Panel (April 11 from 9:15 to 10:15 in the Salon Ballroom)—Update on the final Medicare Part D Rule and drug pricing.
  • Medicaid Panel (April 12 from 9:00 to 9:45 in the Salon Ballroom) – Update on state actions to bring transparency, accountability, and cost control to Medicaid managed care programs.

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