Pharmacy Associations Encourage Congress to Give Medicare Patients Pharmacy Choice

Pharmacy Times, July 2014 Digestive Health, Volume 80, Issue 7

One hundred-thirty pharmacist, patient advocacy, and business organizations have urged congress to allow Medicare beneficiaries more convenient access to discounted or preferred copays at independent community pharmacies willing to accept the terms and conditions of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

In an open letter to congress, dated June 10, 2014, the organizations expressed support for the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act, which would allow “any willing pharmacy” located in medically underserved areas to participate in all Medicare Part D drug plan networks, including the plan’s discounted or “preferred” network.

“You have heard of the difficulties beneficiaries are facing when trying to find a pharmacy close by and in their preferred network, especially in rural and underserved communities,” the letter reads. “We believe that this is simply not right.”

Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not finalize a proposed “any willing pharmacy” provision in the 2015 Medicare Part D final rule, the letter notes that the agency continues to support the policy, as it will benefit patients without increasing costs. In addition, more than 30 members of congress support the standard for preferred pharmacy networks. Since the letter’s publication, sponsors of the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act have sought additional cosponsors.

The letter was signed by the National Community Pharmacists Association, American Pharmacists Association, and other pharmacy organizations.