The House Armed Services Committee made revisions to a proposed "preferred pharmacy" pilot program for the military's TRICARE health program.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 1, 2015) — National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement today regarding revisions made by the House Armed Services Committee to a proposed “preferred pharmacy” pilot program for the military’s TRICARE health program, contained in H.R. 1735 (the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016:
“We commend members of the House Armed Services Committee for adopting important safeguards to the ‘preferred pharmacy’ pilot program included in the NDAA.
“First, the revised proposal would require that the TRICARE ‘preferred pharmacy’ network include participation by small business community pharmacies at the same rate at which they currently participate in the broader TRICARE retail pharmacy network. This will help enhance patient access to medication and pharmacies because independent pharmacies are often located in inner-city and rural areas where few, if any, other practical pharmacy options are available.
“Second, convenient access for patients to prescription drugs and pharmacies will be better assured by the legislation’s provision that the ‘preferred pharmacy’ network comply with TRICARE pharmacy access standards. Medicare ‘preferred pharmacy’ drug plans lack this safeguard so many patients must pay more or face an inconvenient trip to have their prescriptions filled.
“Third, the cost of this pilot program would remain the same. All participating ‘preferred pharmacies’, whether national chain or community pharmacy, would be able to purchase prescription medication for beneficiaries at rates available to the federal government pursuant to section 1074g(f) of title 10, United States Code.
“We appreciate the committee’s dedication to supporting both patient access to care as well as meaningful participation of small business community pharmacies in this taxpayer-funded program. In particular, we are grateful to Reps. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) for bringing this issue to the forefront. We hope these safeguards will remain in the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process toward final enactment.”