ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb 1, 2017) The law firm of Frier Levitt, LLC has released an investigative white paper commissioned by the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) about the use of direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) pharmacy fees by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). In response, B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO, issued the following statement:
"NCPA welcomes the addition of this white paper to the debate over increasing prescription drug costs, the contribution of PBMs to that rising trend and the resulting impact on Medicare, beneficiaries and the independent community pharmacists who serve them. The white paper further reinforces many of our concerns, which are also illustrated in a recent Medicare fact sheet about pharmacy DIR fees. Namely, that DIR fees force beneficiaries into the 'donut hole' sooner and expose Medicare and taxpayers to higher liability and catastrophic coverage costs—in addition to greatly undermining the ability of independent community pharmacies to continue caring for patients. The PBM industry continues to argue that DIR fees lower beneficiary premiums, but neglects to add that they do so only by inflating patients' out of pocket costs for needed medications." In other words, the seniors who actually use their Part D benefit are penalized.
NCPA strongly supports the paper's recommendations that Medicare finalize its proposed 'negotiated price' guidance for Part D plans and for Congress to enact legislation to prohibit retroactive pharmacy DIR fees. These steps will continue to be top priorities for NCPA going forward, and we look forward to working with additional allies wherever possible toward this end."