NCPA Offers House Committee Suggestions to Enhance Medicare, Increase Access to Prescription Drugs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 22, 2017) In comments submitted for a House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing on the current status of the Medicare program, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) offered suggestions to enhance Medicare and increase beneficiary access to prescription drugs and related essential health services. They include enacting legislation to help strengthen community pharmacists' ability to provide essential services to their patients, particularly in underserved areas and that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) address and clarify a number of issues of interest for community pharmacy.

"Independent community pharmacies play a critical role in ensuring Medicare beneficiaries have immediate access to medications," NCPA said. "Ninety-two percent of sales revenue at an independent community pharmacy is derived from prescription drugs and Medicare Part D accounts for 35 percent of these prescriptions."

In its comments, NCPA recommended the following:

  • Enact H.R. 1038 (the Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act). The legislation would ban retroactive direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees on community pharmacies.
  • Strengthen and finalize proposed CMS guidance on DIR and pharmacy price concessions.
  • Review and standardize how Part D plans measure pharmacy quality and performance in community pharmacies.
  • Enact H.R. 1316 (the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act) to increase transparency into how generic drugs are priced by PBMs and paid for in Medicare.
  • Enact H.R. 1939 (the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act) to give seniors more access to discounted copays for prescription drugs at their pharmacy of choice.
  • Enact H.R. 592 (the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act) to expand access for beneficiaries in underserved areas to basic health services from a community pharmacist.