Important Role for Pharmacy in House-Passed 21st Century Cures Bill

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores celebrated the passage of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would accelerate the pace of cures and medical breakthroughs in the U.S.

PRESS RELEASE Arlington, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) today celebrated the passage of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would accelerate the pace of cures and medical breakthroughs in the U.S. and position pharmacy to play an important role in the delivery of new drug treatments to patients. The U.S. House passed the

21st Century Cures Act

(H.R. 6) by a vote of 344-77, with its supporters echoing the mantra “on to the Senate.”

Spearheaded by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Committee member Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), the 21st Century Cures Act will help modernize various aspects of health policy to make available to patients some of the life-saving innovations that are emerging in the healthcare arena, including new medications.

NACDS documented its support for the mission of the legislation more than one year ago, in a letter to Chairman Upton and Rep. Degette. On July 2, 2014, NACDS emphasized the accessibility and expertise of pharmacists and the value that neighborhood pharmacies contribute to current medication therapies and healthcare services. NACDS also described pharmacies’ preparedness to help optimize new and innovative medication therapies — those contemplated in the 21st Century Cures Act.

“NACDS commends the leadership of Chairman Upton and Rep. DeGette, and the diligence and support of the bill’s bipartisan and broad supporters in Congress,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, following the legislation’s House passage today.

“NACDS looks forward to helping to advance those important research provisions in the Senate, and ultimately to contribute to its implementation by the Executive Branch. Pharmacies and pharmacists in every community stand ready to help foster access to promising cures and treatments that can save and improve patients’ lives, and those of their loved ones.”

Throughout the development of the legislation in the U.S. House, NACDS engaged consistently in the process. NACDS provided statements in conjunction with committee hearings, including those that focused specifically on vaccines — an area in which pharmacy has demonstrated its accessibility and expertise, to the appreciation of the public health community. NACDS also advocated to shape provisions related to prescription drug abuse and diversion, to prevent unintended consequences that could have threated legitimate patient access to needed medications.

Previously, NACDS successfully advocated to prevent a provision that would have excluded brand and authorized generic drugs from the calculation of average manufacturer price (AMP) in setting federal upper limits for generic drug matching rates under Medicaid. NACDS noted that this provision could have jeopardized the patient access that is at the heart of the legislation.

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Chairman Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) submitted a statement for the record of the proceedings of the U.S. House that clarified that a subsequent and final AMP-related provision in the legislation “is not intended to affect Medicaid programs’ pharmacy reimbursements.”

This release is available on the NACDS