Pharmacists, Members of Congress Offer Support for Proposed Improvements to Medicare Part D

FEBRUARY 25, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb. 25, 2014) – One hundred fifty-one (151) organizations, including the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the National Rural Health Association, sent a letter today to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in strong support of a number of provisions included in the agency’s proposed regulation for 2015 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. The letter comes as more Members of Congress contact CMS in support of its proposal to expand beneficiary choice by allowing independent community pharmacies the opportunity to participate as “preferred” providers if they are willing to accept the contract offered by a drug plan.

“We want to take this opportunity to voice our strong support for certain proposed changes to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program that will allow more meaningful beneficiary choice and increased marketplace competition,” the organizations wrote in the letter on behalf of pharmacy providers and drug supply chain participants from across the country.

Highlights from the letter include the following:
  • To increase beneficiary choice and enhance market competition, the groups noted that “We support CMS’ proposal to require Part D plan sponsors to offer terms & conditions for every level of cost sharing, including preferred cost sharing, to any willing pharmacy that will accept the terms.” They also noted that “although the agency was led to believe that its costs via preferred pharmacy networks to be uniformly lower, CMS’ own findings proved otherwise.”
  • Full support of CMS’ proposal to expand access to critical medication therapy management (MTM) services, which are “ideally provided face-to-face by a pharmacist” and “must become a cornerstone of the Prescription Drug Benefit.”
  • “We support CMS’ expectations that pharmacies should have current data on the amount of reimbursement they can expect, which in turn impacts costs that plan sponsors submit to CMS as well as prices displayed on Plan Finder.”
The coalition letter comes in conjunction with a series of Congressional letters to CMS in support of the pharmacy choice and competition (or “any willing provider”) provisions within the proposed rule.

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) wrote to CMS that, “I have heard from many Medicare recipients who now have to travel to neighboring towns or counties to find new and larger preferred network pharmacies. For many patients, the cost and physical strain associated with unnecessary travel may keep them at home. Last month, CMS released its proposed rule for Medicare Part D, and I was encouraged to see language that addresses the unintended problems that have developed with these preferred networks. I thank you for your attention to this issue affecting America’s community pharmacists and Medicare patients.”

In addition, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) recently wrote to CMS to follow up on a March 2013 letter he and 30 other Members of Congress sent the agency. This week he wrote that, “independent and community pharmacists have dedicated their careers to providing quality patient care, but exclusion from preferred networks has resulted in a strain on their patients and their businesses. I was pleased to see that your agency’s proposed rule on Part D included promising language that addresses some of the concerns laid out” in the March 2013 letter.

Earlier this year, U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) sent their own letters to CMS in support of the any willing provider provision.

The following organizations signed the letter to CMS:
Alaska Pharmacists Association
Alliance of Independent Pharmacists of Texas
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Pharmacies American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc.
American Pharmacy Services Corp.
AmeriClear Rx
Arizona Pharmacy Association
Arkansas Pharmacists Association
Associated Fresh Markets
Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network
Astrup Drug, Inc.
Aurora Pharmacies
Bartell Drugs
Big Y Foods, Inc.
Brookshire Grocery Company
California Pharmacists Association
CARE Pharmacies Cooperative, Inc.
Cecil’s Pharmacy
Chain Drug Marketing Association
Community Pharmacy Prescription Network
Compliant Pharmacy Alliance Cooperative
Connecticut Pharmacists Association
Dan’s Fresh Market
Davis Food and Drug
DiCello & Associates, Inc.
Dick’s Fresh Market
Digital Simplistics, Inc.
Discount Drug Mart, Inc.
Drug Emporium Pharmacies
EPIC Pharmacies, Inc.
EPIC Pharmacy Network, Inc.
Fagen Pharmacy
FDS, Inc.
Federation of Pharmacy Networks
Florida Pharmacy Association
Frank W. Kerr Co.
Fresh Encounter, Inc.
Fruth Pharmacy
Garden State Pharmacy Owners, Inc.
Georgia Pharmacy Association
GPhA Academy of Independent Pharmacy
Guardian Pharmacy
Hartig Drug
Hi-School Pharmacy Inc.
HomeTown Pharmacy Inc.
Hy-Vee Pharmacies
Idaho State Pharmacy Association
Illinois Pharmacists Association
Independent Pharmacy Alliance
Independent Pharmacy Buying Group, Inc.
Independent Pharmacy Cooperative
Innovatix, LLC
International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists
Iowa Pharmacy Association
Kansas Independent Pharmacy Service Corp.
Kansas Pharmacists Association
Kelley-Ross Long-Term Care Pharmacy
Kentucky Pharmacists Association
Keystone Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance
King Kullen Pharmacies
Kinney Drugs, Inc.
Kopp Drug
La Farmacia de la Gente
Lagniappe Pharmacy Services
Lifecheck Pharmacies
Lin’s Fresh Market
Long Island Pharmacists Society
Louisiana Independent Pharmacies Association
Macey’s Supermarkets
Mallatt’s Homecare Pharmacy
Managed Health Care Associates, Inc.
Maryland Pharmacists Association
Massachusetts Independent Pharmacists Association
Massachusetts Pharmacists Association
MedOne Healthcare Systems
Merwin LTC Pharmacies
Michigan Pharmacists Association
Minnesota Pharmacists Association
Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association
Missouri Pharmacy Association
Montana Pharmacy Association
Mutual Wholesale Drug Company
National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations
National Community Pharmacists Association
National Grocers Association
National Rural Health Association
Navarro Discount Pharmacies, LLC
Nebraska Pharmacists Association
New Jersey Pharmacists Association
New Mexico Pharmacists Association
Niemann Foods, Inc.
North Dakota Pharmacists Association
Northeast Pharmacy Service Corporation
Northwest Specialty Pharmacy
NoviXus Mail Service Pharmacy
Ohio Pharmacists Association
Osborn Drugs, Inc.
Our Valley Pharmacy
Pace Alliance
Pakistani American Pharmaceutical Association
Partners in Pharmacy Cooperative
PBA Health/TrueCare Pharmacies
Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association
PerroneRX, LLC
Pharmacists Society of the State of New York
Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency
Pharmacy Plus Network Pharmacy Provider Service Corp.
Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin
Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists
PPOk RxSelect Pharmacy Network
Progressive Pharmacies
QS/1 Data Systems
Quality Care Pharmacies
QuickChek Pharmacies
Raley’s Family of Fine Stores
Ralph’s Thriftway Pharmacy
Red Cross Pharmacy
Ritzman Pharmacies
Rochester Drug Cooperative, Inc.
RxPlus Pharmacies
RxPreferred Benefits
Sav-Mor Drug Stores
Sav-On Drugs
Smith Drug Company
South Carolina Pharmacy Association
Southern Pharmacy Cooperative
Tennessee Pharmacists Association
Texas Independent Pharmacies Association
Texas Pharmacy Association
Texas Pharmacy Business Council
Third Party Station
Thrifty White Pharmacy
Town & Country Markets
United Drugs
Value Drug Company
Value Merchandiser Company
Virginia Pharmacists Association
Walker Drug
Washington State Pharmacy Association
Weis Markets
West Virginia Pharmacists Association
Woods Supermarkets
Wray’s Marketfresh IGA

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