NCPA Supports Congressman Marino's Bill to Preserve Community Pharmacies, Protect Patient Choice

Share |



Alexandria, Va. - June 21, 2011

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has endorsed The Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act (H.R. 1946), legislation announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.). The bill would benefit patients by introducing greater choice and competition into the delivery of pharmacy services by enhancing the ability of independent community pharmacies to negotiate with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Specifically, H.R. 1946 would allow independent community pharmacies to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of insurance contracts to produce plan designs that better protect the patient's access to their pharmacy of choice and are fairer to pharmacy providers.

In response to H.R. 1946, NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement:

"Patients rely on independent community pharmacists for expert medication counseling and other cost-saving health services. This vital legislation will help these local pharmacists and small business owners by making three important changes. First, it levels the playing field for independent community pharmacies negotiating contracts with billion-dollar corporations, giving them leverage similar to those of large, national pharmacy chains. Second, it allows millions of Americans to enjoy the fruits of greater competition and choice of pharmacy, including independent community pharmacies. Third, it supports local jobs, tax revenue and small businesses by keeping in the community health care dollars that could otherwise be siphoned out-of-state by large corporations.

"For years, small pharmacies have had to endure one-sided, take-it-or-leave-it contracts that can disadvantage community pharmacists with onerous contract terms while impeding true competition for consumers. By contrast, large pharmacy chains have a greater ability to negotiate contracts, as evidenced by Walgreens' recent decision to opt out of the network of Express Scripts, Inc., a major PBM.

"What makes the pharmacy marketplace particularly inequitable is the fact that major PBMs both administer drug plans and operate mail order pharmacies. This inherent conflict of interest creates an even greater incentive for benefit managers to impose unfair audit and reimbursement practices.

"Many patients have expressed a clear preference for utilizing independent community pharmacies and this bill would increase patient access to these providers. Rep. Marino deserves enormous credit for introducing this legislation and we urge his colleagues to support it. We appreciate those lawmakers who have already signed on as co-sponsors, including Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), Howard Coble (R-N.C.), Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Ron Paul (R-Texas)."

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