ALEXANDRIA, Va. (September 15, 2016)—Four United States Senators have introduced bipartisan legislation to boost transparency in Medicare Part D drug spending and to prohibit retroactive “DIR fees” in response to concerns raised by National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) members and staff.
Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) have introduced the “Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Spending Act,” S. 3308. Companion legislation to H.R. 5951, which was introduced September 8, the bill would end huge clawbacks, often labeled direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR fees, assessed by Medicare drug plans, or their intermediaries, pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) corporations, long after prescriptions are filled.
In response to the bill’s introduction, NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement:
“Since the inception of the Medicare Part D drug benefit, independent community pharmacists have tirelessly served seniors to help them get the most out of the program. Over the years Medicare officials and Congress have occasionally stepped in to make enhancements so Part D operates more smoothly. That action is certainly needed now to address out-of-control DIR fees.
“In banning retroactive DIR fees, S. 3308/H.R. 5951 would improve transparency in Medicare Part D as many members of Congress, Medicare officials and NCPA have urged. The bill would also lower beneficiary cost sharing at the pharmacy counter without increasing Medicare Part D costs.
“NCPA congratulates Senators Capito and Tester and their colleagues on introduction of this important legislation. It would go a long way to addressing the problems that NCPA has raised and educated Congress, Medicare and others about.
“I encourage NCPA members to take grassroots action to encourage their Senators to cosponsor this legislation and to attend the NCPA Annual Convention program: Strategies to Combat DIRs to learn what they can do to manage the impact of DIR fees on the bottom line. More information on the meeting and registration is available at ncpanet.org/convention.”
Visit ncpanet.org for more information.