Pharmacy associations have applaudedCongress for including key provisions inthe final conference report for the NationalDefense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year2008. The report contains 2 important provisionsrelated to the TRICARE prescriptiondrug benefit for military beneficiaries.
The portion of the bill related to the TRICAREpharmacy program extends the currentfreeze on increases to retail pharmacycopayments, preventing patients frombeing penalized for having their prescriptionsfilled at retail pharmacies as opposedto mail-order pharmacies. It also includeslanguage that clarifies that the Departmentof Defense will be able to negotiate withdrug manufacturers for prescription-drugfederal pricing discounts at retail pharmacies,as is currently the case with mailorderpharmacies.
"Congress chose the prudent course ofaction by working to level the playing fieldfor community pharmacies, so they canremain a viable, cost-effective option forTRICARE patients who deserve a choicewhen deciding where to get their prescriptiondrugs filled," said Bruce Roberts, RPh,executive vice president and chief executiveofficer of the National CommunityPharmacists Association (NCPA).
On the TRICARE issue, the NationalAssociation of Chain Drug Stores has partneredwith NCPA through the Coalition forCommunity Pharmacy, as well as with militarybeneficiary groups and others committedto protecting the right of TRICAREbeneficiaries to use the pharmacy of theirchoice.