The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) co-authored a letter thanking U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for his continued leadership and support for protecting TRICARE beneficiaries' access to retail pharmacies.
The joint letter applauded Sen. Lautenberg for offering a Sense of Congress amendment expressing the Senate's support for beneficiary choice, and his previous work to ensure TRICARE beneficiaries do not face increased cost-sharing for retail pharmacy services.
"We believe the choice of where to obtain prescription medications is best left to TRICARE beneficiaries," stated the letter from NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE and NCPA Acting Executive Vice President and CEO Douglas Hoey, R.Ph.
A TRICARE co-payment freeze provision already passed the U.S. House of Representatives under the leadership of House Armed Service Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Ranking Member Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), which prohibited a pharmacy co-pay increase.
The U.S. Senate is expected to debate its version of the Defense Authorization bill after the November elections.
"As the Defense authorization moves towards final enactment, we will be seeking language specifically prohibiting co-pay increases to best protect beneficiaries' access to their retail pharmacies," continued the letter from NACDS and NCPA.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents 154 traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmaciesfrom regional chains with four stores to national companies. NACDS members also include more than 900 pharmacy and front-end suppliers, and over 70 international members from 24 countries. Chains operate 37,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.5 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill more than 2.5 billion prescriptions annually, which is more than 72 percent of annual prescriptions in the United States. The total economic impact of all retail stores with pharmacies transcends their $815 billion in annual sales. Every $1 spent in these stores creates a ripple effect of $3.82 in other industries, for a total economic impact of $3.11 trillion, equal to 26 percent of GDP. For more information about NACDS, visit www.NACDS.org.
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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