NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending June 17, 2017

Bill to Preserve Patient Access to Compounded Medications Introduced in the House:  This week Representatives Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) introduced H.R. 2871, the Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act of 2017.  NCPA, working with the Drug Quality & Security Act Coalition (of which NCPA is a member), has worked with the FDA and Congress on improving the agency’s compounding policies in a way that better balances public safety with patient access to critical medications. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, FDA continues to misinterpret the DQSA and assert regulatory authority over the practice of pharmacy and medicine in a way Congress never intended. This bipartisan legislation will help clarify the Drug Quality & Security Act (DQSA) in a way that will better align the statute with congressional intent and better balance public safety and patient access.

Urge Your Senators to Voice Support for Tricare Pharmacy Pilot:  The FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorized the Secretary of Defense to implement a pilot program to allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to access lower pricing for prescriptions dispensed at retail pharmacies. If authorized by the Secretary, this pilot would reduce prescription costs for the DoD, expand TRICARE beneficiary choice and access to prescription drugs at retail pharmacies, and streamline DoD administrative and prescription drug rebate processes. Please take a moment and contact your Senator and ask them to sign-on to a bipartisan letter (attached) led by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) to the Secretary of Defense urging him to utilize his authority to authorize this prescription drug pilot program. The deadline for Senators to sign-on is this Wednesday, June 21.  A similar letter was sent in May from sixty-five members of the House of Representatives to the Secretary of Defense asking the Secretary to implement the pilot program.  NCPA strongly supports the pilot program, which would allow retail pharmacies to purchase brand name prescriptions at reduced rates via voluntary manufacturer discounts.

Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Prescription Drug Pricing: The hearing was held earlier this week and the Democratic Senators used their time to voice their opposition on the Republican’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Senate Republicans are reportedly drafting legislation and sharing it with members of their own conference in hopes of passing a bill before the July 4th recess.  That is an ambitious goal with so many unknowns and with so many Senators having strong concerns about cuts to Medicaid when their states chose to expand coverage through the ACA.  NCPA did weigh in with the committee on the need for transparency in the large PBM industry and that DIR fees pose a large financial problem to the integrity of Medicare Part D.

NCPA Participates in House Republican District Director Fly-In:  This week NCPA was invited by House Republican Conference Chairwoman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa.) to participate with 27 other outside organizations in the House Republican District Director Fly-In on Capitol Hill.  The purpose of the event was to help connect House staff with resources on events that Members of Congress can do in their districts.  NCPA staff was able to share resources with District Directors, Chiefs of Staff and Communications Directors for House Republicans on partnering with NCPA to host pharmacy visits and roundtables in congressional districts.

Pharmacy Visits Update:  Pharmacy visits are a tremendous opportunity to provide elected officials with a first-hand look at the role independent pharmacies play in their communities, fostering positive patient outcomes and in the health care system overall. Several members of Congress have taken the opportunity to participate in pharmacy visits recently including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers who visited Riverpoint Pharmacy in Spokane and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wi.) who visited Bay Hometown Pharmacy. Other members have engaged with independent pharmacists in other ways including Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Buddy Carter (R-GA) who attended an event in Charlotte and Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) who hosted a round table. NCPA will also be participating in a round table with Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) next week. NCPA encourages all independent pharmacies to invite their member for a visit to their pharmacy. Resources are available on the pharmacy visit webpage. Please contact Michael Rule at or (703) 838-2671 with questions or to let him know a visit or meeting has been scheduled so he can send you briefing materials. Please also follow up with him after any visits to let him know how the visit went, any follow up that is necessary by NCPA, and to share some photos.

Other News: NCPA cosponsored the Association of Health Care Journalists annual Washington reception, a gathering of 120+ journalists and health care professionals. NCPA staff promoted community pharmacy priorities to many reporters in attendance who write stories that shape the D.C. and national policy debate.

In the States: 

  • New Hampshire: H.B. 455 was transmitted to the Governor and awaits his signature. This bill would prohibit a PBM from requiring additional accreditation or credentialing other than the requirements of the NHBOP.
  • Texas: S.B. 894 was signed into law and allows the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to directly audit PBMs who subcontract with MCOs and administer the $8.4 Billion Dollar state Medicaid prescription drug benefit. This additional oversight provides HHSC with important tools to ensure the effectiveness of PBM’s internal controls and compliance with state requirements.
  • Texas: S.B. 1076 was signed into law and addresses the practice of clawbacks by PBMs. The law will prohibit certain health plans/PBMs from requiring a patient to make a co-payment for a covered prescription in an amount greater than the reimbursement the pharmacy would receive or the cost of the prescription if the patient were paying cash.