ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb. 15, 2017) The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today endorsed bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) that prohibits pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees from being applied after the point-of-sale for prescription drugs dispensed to Medicare beneficiaries. NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement on The "Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act," H.R. 1038:
"DIR fees are like the 'Sword of Damocles' hanging over pharmacies. Pharmacies dispense medication and are reimbursed, only to have a portion of that payment clawed back by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) weeks or months after the transaction. There's often little way to anticipate the fees, and pharmacists are seldom provided sufficient justification for the clawback. It's a maddening way to operate a business, so it's no wonder community pharmacists identified this as their top 2017 priority. NCPA strongly supports H.R. 1038 because, when enacted, it would end retroactive pharmacy DIR fees.
"A recent analysis from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstrates that it isn't just pharmacies that are hurt by pharmacy DIR fees. The CMS fact sheet asserts that pharmacy DIR fees not only fail to reduce the cost of drugs for beneficiaries at the point-of-sale, but actually push seniors into the Medicare Part D 'donut hole' where beneficiaries are responsible for all the costs, and to the catastrophic coverage phase where the government and taxpayers assume nearly all of the costs. H.R. 1038 would also address these problems.
"NCPA has been laser-focused for years on abuse by PBMs that threatens the viability of many community pharmacies. We were encouraged that CMS addressed our concerns with the recently released fact sheet. Now, we are heartened by this legislation and the momentum for prohibiting retroactive pharmacy DIR fees. A previous version of the bill generated plenty of bipartisan, bicameral support last year, even though it was introduced only weeks before the 114th Congress adjourned. Now the bill has been reintroduced. Supporting it is the right thing to do."