NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending February 25, 2017

NCPA Hosts DIR Stakeholder Call:  This week NCPA hosted a call with industry partners providing an update on recent developments regarding NCPA’s efforts on pharmacy DIR fees.  Highlights of the briefing:

  • Overview of recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) analysis related to Part D DIR fees and the impact of these fees on the Part D program.  NCPA pointed out that the CMS analysis was an important step toward greater transparency and program integrity for Medicare Part D and NCPA was pleased that CMS has heard our concerns over the past two years and is working to provide more clarity surrounding retroactive pharmacy DIR fees.
  • Bicameral, bipartisan legislation to prohibit retroactive pharmacy DIR fees was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate.  In the House Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), along with 16 of their colleagues, introduced H.R. 1038, the “Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act.”  In the Senate, Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-Wv.) and Jon Tester (D-Mt.) introduced the identical bill (S. 413) along with six of their colleagues.
  • Sign-On Letter:  Industry partners were asked to consider joining as signatories to a letter (attached here) thanking the co-sponsors for introducing H.R. 1038/S. 413.  Please let us know by COB on Friday March 10 if your organization would like to sign by emailing Michael Rule at
  • Survey to NCPA Membership:  NCPA will be sending out a survey soon to members in order to get up to date examples and information with the intent to share the final results with community pharmacy champions on Capitol Hill and CMS on how pharmacy DIR fees are detrimental to independent community pharmacies.
  • Grassroots activity:  NCPA has developed grassroots resources for industry partners to share with their members, customers and patients to encourage their engagement in continuing to build momentum for this critical issue.

Grassroots email supporting H.R. 1038/S. 413
Sample letter to the editor
Infographic explaining DIR fees
Sample newsletter language

Community Pharmacy Champion Rep. Doug Collins to Hold Community Pharmacy Special Order:  Independent community pharmacy champion Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) intends to hold a community pharmacy special order on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on March 1, 2017.  Rep. Collins has hosted these in the past where he has invited colleagues to join him in highlighting the important role that community pharmacies play in their communities across the country.  While the House schedule is always subject to change it currently looks like the special order will likely take place between 6 and 7 p.m. EST on March 1.

NCPA Asks HHS Secretary Price for  Meeting to Discuss Rising Drug Costs and Patient Access to Affordable Coverage:  NCPA recently wrote to Dr. Price, the new Secretary of HHS, outlining independent community pharmacy’s views regarding health care reform and the need for access to robust pharmacy networks and an in-person pharmacist.  NCPA reiterated our support of the President’s initiatives to reduce prescription drug costs and enhance transparency, which cannot occur if Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) continue to operate in a virtual black box.

First Signs of Draft House ACA Repeal/Replacement Bill:  This week a leaked draft House Republican bill was circulating around Washington where it looks to dismantle ACA subsidies and scrap its Medicaid expansion.  The document is more detailed than the outline that House leaders circulated before the recess, although we expect there to be several drafts as lawmakers are still in disagreement about several key issues, including Medicaid and the size and form of subsidies.  The legislation will also be shaped by findings from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) about the costs and federal deficit implications.  Another sign of trouble with this draft is that the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees haven’t scheduled any markups of the legislation, despite Republican leaders’ statements that they would release more details right after the congressional recess.  President Trump who will be giving a major speech to Congress on February 28th has said he expects a plan will emerge in early to mid-March.

Fight for DIR Legislation: Come to the NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Fly-InThe most compelling way to get your message to members of Congress is an in-person meeting. Join hundreds of your colleagues April 26-27 at the NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In as community pharmacists storm the Hill and make their voice heard during this critical time in the health care debate. We’ve made the event much shorter and more affordable this year. The Hilton Alexandria will serve as the anchor hotel, but we do not have a room block so you have the flexibility to choose a hotel that suits your needs. For a list of hotel options, check the NCPA websiteRegister now online or by calling 1-800-544-7447 and make your voice heard. See attached brochure for more info.

FDA Publishes Guidance for Dispensers that Share Product With First RespondersThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released regulatory guidance addressing the compliance of dispensers and trading partners that engage in transactions with first responders pursuant to the Drug Supply Chain Security Act. Specifically, FDA does not intend to take action against a dispenser who transfers ownership of product directly to a first responder where the dispenser does not provide the first responder with product tracing information (i.e., a transaction information, transaction history, and transaction statement), as required by the DSCSA provided that:

  • the dispenser captures and maintains the product tracing information for such transaction (including the creation of the product tracing information, prior to, at the time of transaction, or, if necessary shortly thereafter) for not less than six years after the transaction, as required under sections 582(c)(1)(A)(v) and (d)(1)(A)(iii) of the FDC& Act; and
  • the dispenser provides such product tracing information to the first responder or Secretary of HHS, if requested, not later than two business days after receiving the request or in such other reasonable time as determined by the Secretary, based on the circumstances of the request.

FDA originally published similar guidance in February, 2016 in response to concerns about first responders’ access to much-needed drugs.

In the States:

  • Connecticut: H.B. 7124 was introduced and will allow for greater PBM transparency in Maximum Allowable Cost pricing.
  • Nebraska: NCPA submitted a letter in support of L.B. 324. This bill covers many issues important to community pharmacy. It would require a PBM to register as a Third Party Administrator, requires notification if there is a price increase or decrease in a prescription drug, prohibits a PBM from charging a covered individual more for not using mail-order, and it includes generic drug pricing transparency language as well as a fair audit provision.

NCPA Announces Staff Appointments to Strengthen Advocacy Efforts:  NCPA has announced several staff appointments and a realignment to bolster its federal, state and media relations efforts. Click here to learn more:

Posted in Legislation

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