NCPA Urges Senate to Retain Key Prescription Drug Benefit Provisions of ACA
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 11, 2017) In a letter to the Senate Majority Leader and 12 other members of a working group of Republican Senators developing legislation in response to House passage of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey urged that a number of important prescription drug-related provisions be retained in any overhaul or replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
"Prescription drug coverage is an essential health benefit," wrote Hoey. "Any meaningful drug coverage should include patient choice of pharmacy and access to face-to-face counseling with a community pharmacist they know and trust."
The letter asserts that pharmacist-provided prescription drug therapy is "incredibly cost effective" in helping improve medication adherence by patients, which in turn "improves health outcomes and reduces much more expensive interventions, such as emergency room treatment." The letter cites research showing that up to $290 billion in annual health care expenses result from the lack of medication adherence, and that a leading predictor of adherence is a patient's proximity to and relationship with a pharmacist. "Patients must be able to choose a pharmacy that best meets their individual health needs," Hoey added.
NCPA also recommended in its letter to Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the working group the following:
- Support patient access to medication and ensure reasonable pharmacy reimbursement that includes both a community pharmacy's medication acquisition and dispensing costs in any Medicaid reforms (Section 2503).
- Expand patient access to community pharmacists to help manage chronic conditions.
- Assure greater oversight of and transparency from PBMs in federal health care programs (Section 10328).
- Maintain regulatory relief for small business community pharmacies with exemptions from onerous and redundant accreditation standards (Section 3109).
Hoey offered NCPA's assistance in crafting provisions of the Senate health care bill. "Your legislative efforts carry major significance to millions of patients and the independent community pharmacists who serve them," he wrote.