NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending April 20, 2018

NCPA Introduces MedPAC Nominee to Key Hill Staff

This week NCPA government affairs staff accompanied NCPA’s Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) nominee Troy Trygstad to meetings with staff from key Congressional committees that have jurisdiction over Medicare. These included discussions with committee staffers from the Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees and the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees. MedPAC is an independent congressional agency that advises Congress on issues related to the Medicare program and often consults with staff from these committees as it assesses potential commissioners. It is expected that MedPAC will announce its new commissioners in early May.

NCPA PAC Supports Pharmacy Champion Sen. Jon Tester

NCPA PAC hosted a fundraising breakfast last week during the NCPA Steering Committee Forum for Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.). With the generous support of NCPA members in attendance, we were able to raise nearly $20,000 for the Senator’s reelection efforts. Senator Tester was kind enough to speak to attendees about legislation on Capitol Hill that affects community pharmacy and held a brief q&a before making his way in to DC for another day’s work advocating for community pharmacy.

House and Senate Committees Set to Move Legislation Targeting Opioid Epidemic

Next week, Congress will begin the process of advancing legislation to address the opioid crisis. On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will mark-up S.2680, the “Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018.” The following day, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark-up possibly as many as 60 bills, which have been reviewed in a series of three hearings.

NCPA Endorses the Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act

This week, NCPA sent a letter (attached) endorsing H.R. 4275, the “Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act” to the bills primary sponsors, Reps. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.). This legislation would help educate pharmacists about the circumstances under which they can decline to fill a prescription. NCPA voiced support for the bill because it can discourage and prevent fraudulent and forged prescriptions.

NCPA Comments on Proposed Additions to the NIOSH Hazardous Drug List

This week NCPA submitted comments (attached) to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) regarding proposed additions to their hazardous drug list. NIOSH invited comments on any topic relevant to this subject and NCPA focused its comments primarily on impacts outside the hospital setting. Specifically, NCPA recommended that NIOSH revise its guidance to include that the packaging of a hazardous drug product is relevant to the product’s risk assessment, especially in a community pharmacy setting.

Thanks to our NCPA PAC Telethon Callers

We’re grateful to the following NCPA leaders, who donated their time recently as callers in our annual NCPA PAC Telethon.  Together, they raised more than $88,000 for the PAC. Thank you to: Phil Rozell, Fayetteville, AR; Cole Sandlin, Hamilton, AL; Dared Price, Winfield, KS; Ed Horton, Stephenville, TX; Sam Williams, Iowa City, IA; Randy McDonough, Iowa City, IA; Dean Jolley, Salt Lake City, UT; Brian Caswell, Baxter Springs, KS; Lisa Umfleet, Desloge, MO; Carter High, Rhome, TX; Danny Cottrell, Brewton, AL; Brad Arthur, Buffalo, NY; Kevin Oberlander, Bismarck, ND; Jonathan Marquess, Acworth, GA; Ashley Seyfarth, Bloomfield, NM; Timothy Ward, Port Washington, NY; Matt Savoie, Pensacola, FL; Michael Kim, Washington, DC; Tim Mitchell, Neosho, MO; and Steve Giroux, Middleport, NY.

NCPA Supports Compounding Push on Capitol Hill

This week NCPA staff attended and assisted with the PCCA ACT Initiative.  Compounding pharmacists took the opportunity to meet with their Members of Congress to ask for support of HR 2871, the Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act of 2017, and to call FDA and register support for a voting compounding pharmacist on the PCAC. NCPA is pleased to attend this event yearly and accompany pharmacists to the hill.

NCPA Staff Attends Pharmacy Stakeholder Meeting at CMS

NCPA staff attended a pharmacy stakeholder meeting with CMS representatives to discuss problems that are arising with provider enrollment for Medicaid managed care plans.  Provider enrollment, one tool used to detect and prevent fraud, applies to prescribers and pharmacies, among others who provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries.  As of January 1, 2018, these managed care plans must notify beneficiaries when a claim is processed for a precluded or excluded provider, a grace period allows providers to enroll or allows the beneficiary to find an enrolled provider.  Medicaid managed care plan pharmacy benefit managers are reporting a concerning number of claims from pharmacies that are not enrolled in Medicaid and/or claims for prescriptions ordered by prescribers who are not enrolled in Medicaid.  CMS is aware of the issue and can provide guidance, but is not able to force Medicaid plans to use a standard enrollment process or even standard provider enrollment file.  At this time, the greatest impact is on the PBMs but NCPA will continue to monitor for effects on unenrolled pharmacies and on enrolled pharmacies submitting claims for prescriptions ordered by unenrolled prescribers.

NCPA Attends Biosimilar Forum Stakeholder Workshop

NCPA attended the Biosimilar Forum’s second Stakeholder Workshop in Washington, DC on April 16. We discussed the growing industry of biosimilars in the US healthcare market, and the various implications on pharmacies, providers, patients, and health plans. Because patients visit their community pharmacy an average of 35 times a year, there was a consensus among the Forum that community pharmacists are a chief stakeholder, as they engage with the patients more often than most prescribers. A presentation from the EU depicted that biosimilars have not shown adverse events thus far, and are safe and effective. The FDA was also present, and stressed the importance of education on biosimilars for providers, patients, and pharmacies to help increase access to these drugs. All stakeholders came together to propose different ideas on concrete next steps to increase awareness and access to biosimilars.

In the states …

  • Kentucky SB 5, which establishes disclosure and contract requirements for PBMs that contract with managed care organizations to administer Medicaid benefits, was signed into law by the governor.
  • Louisiana SB 130, which prohibits spread pricing by pharmacy benefit managers in the state Medicaid program, passed the Senate and is now in the House.
  • Missouri HB 1542, which prohibits certain actions by pharmacy benefit managers, passed the House and is now in the Senate.
  • New Hampshire HB 1746, which prohibits pharmacy benefit managers from requiring accreditation beyond the requirements of the state board of pharmacy, has passed both chambers.
  • New Hampshire SB 332, which relates to medication synchronization, has passed both chambers.
  • Tennessee SB 1852, which requires pharmacy benefit managers operating in the state to be licensed by the department of commerce and insurance, has passed both chambers.