NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending April 29, 2017

NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In Wrap Up:  NCPA held its 49th annual meeting with over 200 independent community pharmacists visiting Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. this week to share with Congress real solutions to the problem of skyrocketing prescription drugs.  The purpose of the fly-in was to encourage Congressional support for the following pro-pharmacy pieces of legislation: The Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Spending Act (S. 413 / H.R. 1038), The Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act (H.R. 1939), The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (H.R. 1316), and The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 109 / H.R. 592).  Pharmacists also spoke to members of Congress and staff about compounding and TRICARE issues of concern.

Community pharmacists from 37 states visited more than 250 congressional offices for meetings with members of Congress or their staffs during the two-day event.  Also during the fly-in NCPA hosted a congressional reception on Capitol Hill with meeting attendees and members of Congress and their staffs.  Several notable members of Congress attended the reception including: Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) lead  Republican sponsor of H.R. 1038 and 1939, Dave Loebsack (D-Ia.) lead Democrat sponsor of H.R. 1316, Doug Collins (R-Ga.) lead Republican sponsor of H.R. 1316 and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa.) House Republican Conference Chair and current co-sponsor of H.R. 592, 1038, 1316 and 1939. Visit NCPA’s Facebook page to view photos from the 2017 Fly-In.

NCPA Hosts Fundraiser for Chairman Walden:  During the NCPA Steering Committee Meeting this week, NCPA hosted a fundraising reception for the Chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon).  Due to the support of several industry allies and NCPA members the event raised nearly $25,000 for the Chairman’s re-election campaign. Additionally, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) a new member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the only pharmacist in Congress, attended the event.

NCPA Submits Comments to CMS Call for Transparency Recommendations:  This week NCPA submitted comments to a CMS Request for Information (RFI) that was an attachment to the Final Call Letter.  The RFI solicited input on “regulatory, sub-regulatory, policy, practice and procedural changes” to use “transparency, flexibility, program simplification and innovation” to provide MA and Medicare Part D enrollees with “options that fit their individual health needs.”  NCPA’s comments focused on DIR fees, MAC pricing, access standards for preferred cost sharing pharmacies, the Part D lock-in program, and the reliability of existing PQA measures currently being used in the marketplace to determine performance at the pharmacy level.

Gottlieb Nomination Advances to Full Senate: The Senate HELP Committee voted 14-9 to forward the nomination to the floor.  Two Democrat Senators broke ranks with their party and voted for Dr. Gottlieb – Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.  A floor vote is likely for next week. Related to compounding, Gottlieb has said if confirmed, he is committed to implementing DQSA, as intended by Congress, to both protect patient safety, and allow the safe and appropriate practice of pharmacy compounding.

NCPA Resources/Articles of Interest: 

In the States: 

  • Illinois: NCPA and other pharmacy stakeholders signed on to a letter urging the Illinois Medicaid Program Director to consider utilizing NADAC as the primary benchmark for Medicaid FFS. The letter cites several COD studies and suggests the department consider a dispensing fee of at least $10.66.
  • Pennsylvania: NCPA signed on to a letter with the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association urging the Department of Human Services to examine further data demonstrating that the proposed dispensing fee should be increased. The letter also urges the department to reconsider using WAS -50.5% or WAC -3.3% as an alternative benchmark to NADAC, as this could result in pharmacies being reimbursed below cost.