NCPA Proposes Pharmacy Priorities to the White House for Health Care Reform Summit

Alexandria, Va. - February 18, 2010

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today sent a letter to President Barack Obama offering policy proposals that benefit patients, taxpayers and pharmacies in advance of the White House's Health Care Reform Summit on Feb. 25. NCPA, which represents the interests of nearly 23,000 independent community pharmacies—about 40% of all U.S. retail pharmacies—serves millions of patients, and has been heavily involved throughout the reform process in offering constructive solutions. 

The letter, written by Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, NCPA executive vice president and CEO, focuses on four proposals that would help reduce costs, improve quality and increase efficiency. He recommends:

  1. Encouraging greater use of generic prescription drugs by reforming the flawed Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement formula. An equitable fix to the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP)-based reimbursement system for Medicaid generic drugs is, "Critical to assuring both the continued dispensing of lower cost generic medications, and patient access to their neighborhood community pharmacies." 

  2. Implementing transparency requirements that lower drug costs. "Provisions included in both House and Senate health care reform bills... would begin the process of creating transparency requirements for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). This transparency language begins the process of making important reforms to the last bastion of unregulated entities in the health insurance marketplace: PBMs...Transparency gives health plans and payers important information that will empower them to make sure that PBMs are putting the best interests of the plan sponsor and its enrollees ahead of the self-serving financial interests of the PBMs." 

  3. Expanding pharmacists' patient care services through medication therapy management (MTM). "We strongly support provisions that will help assure more appropriate patient medication use and result in a decrease in medication-related problems, which cost the nation's health care system more than $290 billion annually." 

  4. Providing tax credits to help pharmacies and other small businesses offer health insurance. While also limiting or eliminating health insurance mandates because, "Legislation that sets overly burdensome national employer-provided coverage standards could lead to thousands of small independent pharmacies having to lay off staff or even close their doors."
A full copy of the letter can be found here

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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