NCPA Offers Support to HHS Secretary Price, Urges PBM Transparency
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb. 27, 2017) In a recent letter, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, expressed NCPA's support of newly confirmed Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's vision to improve the health care system. The letter describes community pharmacists' unique position in the health care system and NCPA's willingness to provide input on critical aspects of Price's plan aimed at increasing the affordability and accessibility of prescription medications.
The letter reaffirmed NCPA's support of President Trump's initiatives to reduce prescription drug costs and enhance transparency: "Transparency cannot occur if Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) continue to operate in a virtual black box. The only way transparency can be achieved is to expose the pricing behaviors that PBMs have engaged in since the inception of the Medicare Part D program. For example, simpler, more transparent and more economical ways exist to administer the prescription benefits Americans need to get and stay healthy. In Medicare Part D, reforms are needed to address growing concerns over PBM use of after-the-fact reductions to pharmacy reimbursement that mask true drug costs to consumers and the Medicare program. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services indicates these practices shift costs to the catastrophic phase of the benefit, where the government is responsible for 80% of costs."
The letter also emphasized the importance of ensuring independent pharmacists' ability to provide access to care, particularly for vulnerable populations. "Independent community pharmacies provide a range of services, including health and wellness screenings and immunization administration, helping to mitigate the impact of provider shortages. The presence of independent pharmacies in rural and inner-city areas is particularly important to preserving patient access to medicines in underserved communities."