May 22, 2013 (Arlington, Va.) — With a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee poised to draft the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) is urging the panel to reject proposals that could force military families and veterans to obtain prescription medications through mail order, and that ultimately could drive up costs for the TRICARE program.
“NACDS is writing to express our concerns with proposals in the President’s FY2014 budget that would increase healthcare costs for the Department of Defense [DoD], place significant financial burdens on TRICARE beneficiaries, and threaten access to local pharmacies,” wrote NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, to the bipartisan leadership of the House Armed Services Committee’s Military Personnel Subcommittee in advance of today’s “markup” of the legislation.
Anderson noted that the President’s budget calls for further changes to pharmacy co-payments beyond those put into place in October 2012. The changes seek to shift TRICARE patients away from local pharmacies and into the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy, and would severely limit the ability of beneficiaries to obtain non-formulary medications from their neighborhood pharmacy.
“According to DoD’s own analysis, in the case of generic medications, mail order is more expensive than the retail pharmacy network,” Anderson wrote. “Pharmacy co-payments are encouraging TRICARE beneficiaries to obtain generic prescription drugs from the more expensive outlet.”
Anderson said “NACDS is committed to working with Congress, DoD and TRICARE beneficiaries on policies that would reduce prescription drug spending and protect patient choice.”
“We support availability of generic, formulary, and non-formulary medications in both the retail and mail order settings. Rather than driving TRICARE beneficiaries to mail order even when it is more costly to the Department, we favor encouraging beneficiaries to use the most cost-effective medication that meets their needs, obtained from their choice of pharmacy provider,” NACDS wrote.