Top 3 Legislative Priorities for Pharmacists

Direct and indirect remuneration fees remain a top concern for pharmacists in 2018.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) recently asked its independent pharmacy members to rank the most significant legislative and regulatory priorities for 2017, according to a press release.

"NCPA's annual survey of independent community pharmacies helps focus our advocacy efforts, which take on more urgency with a new Congress and president taking office,” NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, said in a statement.

According to the survey, the top 3 concerns for pharmacists in 2018 were:

1. Ending Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fees

Many pharmacists have expressed concern over DIR fees and how this system jeopardizes pharmacies and the patients they treat.

Read more of our DIR fee coverage here.

“This year's top priorities are tied to the questionable business practices of lightly-regulated PBM corporations,” Hoey said. “Complaints about DIR fees have skyrocketed, so it is not surprising that reining in PBM clawbacks would top the list.”

2. Increasing Generic Drug Reimbursement Transparency

In addition to the adverse effects of DIR fees, pharmacies also indicated that reimbursement rates continue to threaten businesses.

“The second and third highest ranked priorities are long-standing, PBM-generated challenges—the lack of transparency with generic prescription drug reimbursements,” Hoey said in the statement.

3. Including the Any Willing Pharmacy Provision to Part D Plans

Respondents indicated that the preferred pharmacy designation may prohibit independent pharmacies from providing care to patients and may reduce overall business.

“Medicare Part D's ‘preferred pharmacy' plans that prevent independent community pharmacy patients from having access to discounted co-pays,” Hoey said.

NCPA said that it plans to work with Congress and the Trump administration to introduce legislation that will remedy these concerns.

"While not part of the survey questioning, NCPA also is equally focused on the changed political landscape and potentially dramatic changes in health care,” Hoey concluded. “As a result, we will make sure the voice of independent community pharmacies is heard. Our main objective is always to maintain patient access to prescription drug services at community pharmacies and continue pushing for pharmacists to be fully utilized as clinically-trained medication experts who improve health outcomes while reducing costs."