Pharmacy Groups Vow to Keep Fighting to Preserve Our Military's Access to Choice of Pharmacy Provider

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Alexandria, Va. - May 27, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the 2012 Defense Authorization Bill without including the freeze on co-payments for retail prescription drugs for TRICARE patients, which has occurred in previous years. Without the freeze, the Department of Defense is free to move forward with its proposal to create further incentives to drive TRICARE beneficiaries to use mail order. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) believe the freeze is necessary to preserve patient choice as to where they obtain their prescription drugs. In response, NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, and NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement:

"We certainly understand the need to reduce TRICARE costs. However, further penalizing TRICARE patients who use their community pharmacy is not the most effective way to reduce prescription drug spending in the program.

"Instead, a much greater emphasis should be placed on increasing the generic drug dispensing rate, regardless of where a prescription is dispensed. Increasing the use of generic drugs is a proven cost saver, and community pharmacies dispense generics 72 percent of the time—significantly higher than mail order. For example, IMS Health estimates that, in the Medicaid program, just a one percent difference in generic dispensing rates can produce $500 million in savings nationally.

"NACDS and NCPA remain committed to working with Congress to maintain TRICARE beneficiary choice and increase generic utilization as lawmakers work to pass a final version of the bill."

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents traditional drug stores, supermarkets, and mass merchants with pharmacies—from regional chains with four stores to national companies. Chains operate 39,000 pharmacies, and employ more than 2.7 million employees, including 118,000 full-time pharmacists. They fill nearly 2.6 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 $830 billion in annual sales. Every $1 spent in these stores creates a ripple effect of $1.96 in other industries, for a total economic impact of $1.57 trillion, equal to 11 percent of GDP. NACDS represents 137 chains that operate these pharmacies in neighborhoods across America, and NACDS members also include more than 900 pharmacy and consumer packaged goods suppliers and service providers, and over 60 international members from 23 countries. For more information about NACDS, visit www.NACDS.org.

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.

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