NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending August 26, 2017

Important Information Regarding Pharmacy Services in Relation to Hurricane Harvey: 

  • Healthcare Ready’s Rx Open is an interactive map that helps patients and providers find nearby open pharmacies in areas impacted by disaster. The map will be updated daily throughout the federally declared disaster. If pharmacies find their status is not consistent with what is shown on Rx Open, please notify Healthcare Ready at If you have partners or colleagues in Texas and/or Louisiana that might want to connect with them, or need assistance, feel free to contact Healthcare Ready for assistance at or 1-866-247-2694.
  • Emergency Preparedness Refill Too Soon Edit Override: Reminder: NCPDP members have approved the most effective method for overriding refill too soon type reject during a disaster: using the Submission Clarification Code 13 –   Payer-Recognized Emergency/Disaster Assistance Request. The pharmacist is indicating that an override is needed based on an emergency/disaster situation recognized by the payer. Access more information on Emergency Preparedness at:
  • Texas health officials have issued guidance for pharmacies that need to dispense emergency refills.  Click here for more info:

 NCPA Reps Discuss Opioid Crisis with HHS SecretaryRepresentatives of NCPA met with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to discuss how independent pharmacies can play a role in curbing the growing opioid crisis. Meeting with Price in Washington were NCPA CEO Doug Hoey; George Garmer, pharmacist/owner of Halethorpe Pharmacy in Baltimore; and Kevin Schweers, NCPA senior vice president of government and public affairs. They told Price that NCPA members are ready to work with the Trump Administration to adopt practical solutions to fight opioid abuse, including expanding consumer access to naloxone.

Pharmacist Provider Status Coalition Leadership Meets with HRSA Administrator:  Members of the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition Steering Committee, including NCPA, met with Dr. George Sigounas, the Administrator of the Health Research and Services Administration, to discuss efforts of the Coalition, including pending legislation that would recognize pharmacists as official health care providers.  Pharmacist provided services align with several of HRSA’s goals.  The Administrator thanked the group for coming and stated that HRSA will work in tandem with CMS and HHS to provide technical comments related to the legislation. During the meeting HRSA staff stated that pharmacies closing in rural areas is a very important issue and efforts to  ensure the continued viability of these pharmacies is crucial.

NCPA Represented at FDA Meeting  Discussing Serialization of Drug Products:  NCPA staff attended an FDA working group comprised of manufacturers, wholesalers and other pharmacy groups tasked with discussing future actions to further secure the pharmaceutical supply chain.  One section of the the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) established certain requirements for supply chain participants to pass along certain information with each change if custody of drug products.  As part of the DSCSA manufacturers are also required to begin to serialize all drug products.  The DSCSA provides that in 2023, there should be increased use of the serialized information to further exchange information and secure the supply chain.  This workshop is the first of a series of meetings to discuss and determine what activities should be considered for 2023. NCPA will continue to advocate for independent community pharmacy interests at this meetings and in any subsequent comments to FDA.

NCPA Responds to Ways and Means Initiative to Deliver Relief from Burdensome Laws and Regs:  Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) recently announced a new initiative to deliver relief from the regulations and mandates that impede innovation, drive up costs, and ultimately stand in the way of delivering better care for Medicare beneficiaries. The Committee seeks to identify opportunities to reduce legislative and regulatory burdens on Medicare providers.  The initiative, known as the “Provider Statutory & Regulatory Relief Initiative,” will have three stages:

  1. Request feedback from stakeholders to learn more about the policies that improve health care – and the policies that stand in the way;
  2. Host roundtables with stakeholders across the country to continue the conversations and identify solutions; and
  3. Take Congressional action based on feedback from stakeholders.

As the first step, NCPA has provided feedback on how Congress can deliver relief to community pharmacists in regards to the growing problem of pharmacy “DIR fees” in the Medicare Part D Program,  To date, based on numerous requests from NCPA and many Members of Congress, CMS has failed to release a final guidance, thus allowing PBMs/Part D plan sponsors to expand greatly DIR fees charged to small business community pharmacies. NCPA proposed that Congress address this problem by enacting H.R. 1038, the Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Spending Act, in order to ban retroactive “DIR fees” on community pharmacies.  This would lower beneficiary cost-sharing and reduce Medicare program costs and liability. This approach would not prohibit the use of pay-for-performance arrangements but rather would encourage true quality incentive programs rather than the misaligned programs that blur the line between reimbursement for ingredient cost and pharmacy performance. 

New Website Provides Support, Education on Compounding:  Direct your patients to a new website that will tell them all about compounding and customized medications. It’s an easy-to-navigate site with education and advocacy elements, and it allows patients to locate a nearby compounding pharmacy. Here is the site:

TRICARE Users Must Approve Mail Order Renewals:  Starting Sept. 1, patients covered under TRICARE must certify that they want a mail order prescription refilled before TRICARE contacts the doctor, according to an Aug. 16 piece posted at Under the current system, Express Scripts, TRICARE’s mail order pharmacy contractor, contacts the user’s doctor when the prescription runs out or expires. The switch affects all TRICARE beneficiaries who receive medication by mail through Express Scripts. The story provides that this change makes it easier for beneficiaries to opt out of the auto refill program and helps to prevent beneficiaries from receiving medications that they no longer need or shouldn’t receive. NCPA has long advocated for this policy, similar to a Part D requirement that we  worked to ensure was enacted.

Hot Topics: What Do You Think About Medical Cannabis:  NCPA is collecting feedback from pharmacy owners, pharmacists, and pharmacy staff on the community pharmacy perspective of medical cannabis.  The survey should only take five minutes to complete on any device. You can take it here.