NCPA Commends Medicare ‘Any Willing Pharmacy' Guidance for Drug Plans

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) issued a statement today in response to guidance that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently provided to Medicare drug plan sponsors regarding the "any willing pharmacy" policy.

PRESS RELEASE

Alexandria, VA.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, issued the following statement today in response to guidance that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently provided to Medicare drug plan sponsors regarding the “any willing pharmacy” policy, after the significant disruption to patients and community pharmacists that occurred in early 2015:

“Medicare officials recently outlined for drug plan sponsors that by September 15 they should have standard contracting terms and conditions available for community pharmacies promptly upon request for the following plan year. Such a requirement was among the list of suggested reforms that NCPA proposed earlier this year. Plans have to reply to inquiries from pharmacies within two days. In addition, the guidance indicates that plan sponsors must also make this information available to CMS upon request so the agency can actively monitor compliance with the ‘any willing pharmacy’ policy.

“This new guidance should help reduce the likelihood of repeating the debacle of early 2015 that affected approximately 400,000 Medicare beneficiaries, many caregivers and community pharmacists. Hopefully it will afford community pharmacists greater certainty and give patients more reliable information with which to select a drug plan, such as through the Medicare Plan Finder website.

“We strongly support CMS’ new guidance to plans and the agency’s efforts to mitigate the problems seen earlier this year.

This is a positive byproduct in the long-term efforts by NCPA and its pharmacy partners to improve the Medicare marketplace for NCPA members and the patients they serve.

For a more comprehensive solution, we continue to urge application of the ‘any willing pharmacy’ policy more broadly, including to so-called 'preferred pharmacy' networks so that patients can use the pharmacy of their choice if it’s willing to accept the drug plan’s contract terms and conditions.”