NCPA Statement on Avalere Health Study Details Need for More Careful Selection of Medicare Part D Plans by Enrollees


Alexandria, Va. - Nov. 23, 2010

National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Executive Vice President and CEO Kathleen Jaeger issued the following statement today in response to the Avalere Health study analyzing how the formulary and cost-sharing benefit changes made by various Medicare Part D prescription drug plans affect seniors:

"The study released today by Avalere Health underscores the importance for seniors and caregivers of reading the fine print when determining what plan is best for the particular Medicare beneficiary, because some of the headline-grabbing offers might not best meet their medication needs.

Community pharmacists are a valuable resource for patients and caregivers navigating the Medicare Part D prescription drug program maze. Given that much has changed from its launch four years ago to today, community pharmacists stand ready to help enrollees determine what plan works best during the annual open enrollment season.

"More than ever before, a consumer needs to be fully informed about the total prescription drug plan being offered—including deductibles, co-pays and the actual cost of the drug. Sometimes, when something sounds too good to be true, it is. In some cases, consumers are having their choice of community pharmacies taken away, some plans are pushing mail order pharmacies with 1-800 lines—all of which take the personal interaction out of providing quality care in dispensing medication and corresponding counseling. And, in most cases, the long-established relationships between patients and their community pharmacists are being broken in the quest for a Part D plan to simply increase its market share. We can't let patient care take a back seat to market share.

"Our goal is to offer our expertise in helping seniors navigate the complex enrollment process. Community pharmacists can either explain or show seniors and their caregivers how to use the Medicare.gov website to find the plan that is best for them. On this site, you can click on the Part D Plan Finder and 'plug in your drugs' and your local pharmacy to understand what is truly the best option to ensure that seniors receive quality care. Not only do community pharmacists understand the Medicare system, but the personal relationships they have developed with their patients are invaluable in providing the patient education necessary for making these determinations."

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

Ask Your Family Pharmacist TM