Medicare Pharmacy Choice and Access Bill Introduced in the Senate: The Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act, S. 1044, was introduced by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). The bill would allow community pharmacies in medically underserved areas to participate in preferred pharmacy networks if they can meet the terms and conditions the networks require. Enactment of this bill would help many Medicare patients across the country who reside in highly rural and low-income urban areas across the country and we thank the sponsors for their leadership.
Support Letter for Tricare Pharmacy Pilot to Secretary of Defense Garners 65 Signatories: Sixty-five members of the House of Representatives this week wrote the Secretary of Defense asking the Secretary to implement the TRICARE Acquisition Cost Parity Pilot Program for Retail Pharmacy (see attached letter). NCPA strongly supports the pilot program, which would allow retail pharmacies to purchase brand name prescriptions at reduced rates via voluntary manufacturer discounts.
House Passes GOP Legislation to Partially Replace Affordable Care Act: On a party-line 217-213 roll call vote, the House of Representatives approved the Republicans’ American Health Care Act. Attention now shifts to the Senate, where major changes are likely to occur as several Republican senators have voiced their concerns with the House legislation. This is a multi-step process with this first legislative phase proceeding via “budget reconciliation.” It requires only a simple majority in the Senate (where GOP has 52 seats and Vice President Pence could break any tie). So while it cannot be filibustered there are significant restrictions on what the legislation can contain (effectively excluding provisions of most interest for community pharmacists). NCPA will continue to engage lawmakers to champion priorities for community pharmacies during this process, which include maintaining prescription drug coverage and ensuring adequate pharmacy reimbursement for patient care as well as sufficient access to community pharmacies and bipartisan transparency provisions related to PBMs in federal exchange programs.
Spending Bill Includes Pro Compounding Language: The President has signed into law H.R. 244, which provides fiscal year 2017 full-year appropriations through September 30, 2017. The bill includes language that clarifies congressional intent on several compounding regulations implementing the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) of 2013. This is a win for NCPA and all compounding stakeholders who have worked to protect the practice of compounding. The language calls on FDA to do the following:
- Draft a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) that allows pharmacies that meet all other requirements of 503A to “distribute” compounded products over state lines.
- Draft new guidance to allow pharmacists to compound for “office use” in anticipation of receiving patient-specific prescriptions at a later time.
- Acknowledge that pharmacies compounding under 503A are the purview of state boards of pharmacy and are not to be held to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs).
- Any final guidance on animal drug compounding will reference statutory provisions that specifically relate to veterinary practices.
NCPA Priority Bills Gain Cosponsors after Congressional Fly-In: The House DIR legislation (H.R. 1038) added seven cosponsors; House MAC bill (H.R. 1316) added five cosponsors; House Pharmacy Choice measure picked up two cosponsors and House provider status legislation (H.R. 592) added eight cosponsors.
NCPA Organizes Pharmacy Fundraiser for Champion Doug Collins: NCPA Advocacy Center staff organized a very successful event to help Mr. Collins re-election committee early last week. Nearly all sectors of pharmacy participated to thank Mr. Collins for all his work on pharmacy issues and the event raised over $20,000.
Vote Scheduled for Gottlieb Nomination to FDA: Pursuant to a unanimous consent agreement, the debate and vote for Dr. Gottlieb is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 8th.
NCPA’s Annual PAC Telethon A Huge Success. Thank you to our callers for taking the time out of your schedules to contribute to the PAC’s success. Despite making calls on Mondays and Tuesdays, we raised over $70,000 and the investments are still rolling in. In conjunction with the PAC Telethon, we raised $25,000 for Chairman Greg Walden.
In the States:
- Hawaii: H.B. 1444 has passed both the house and senate and now awaits the Governor’s signature. This bill would require PBMs to register with the Insurance Commissioner.
- Missouri: H.B. 1073 requires that once a health carrier or a PBM certifies a claim from a pharmacy, such pharmacy shall receive the amount of payment shown due to the pharmacy on the claim certification. No payment reduction may be made by the health carrier or PBM unless such information submitted by the pharmacy was substantially incorrect.
Get Tips to Be Proactively Compliant on a May 10 Webinar (& Earn CE): Over the past several years, government enforcement in the health care space has skyrocketed, and pharmacies have been no strangers to this trend of increased enforcement. Join a May 10 live webinar to learn about the major statutes and regulations at issue in such enforcement actions—particularly the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, and Stark Law—and how those statutes and regulations have been applied to pharmacies. Get tips on proactive compliance to stay off of the government’s radar. The webinar is FREE and open to all pharmacists. (CE credit available only to those participating in the entire live webinar.)
NCPA Innovation Center Webinar: Government Fraud and Abuse Enforcement in the Pharmacy Space
Date: May 10 at 2 p.m. ET
Speaker: Scott Grubman, Partner, Chilivis, Cochran, Larkins & Bever LLP, Atlanta, Ga.
Advance registration is required. Please contact Sue Hagler at email@example.com with any questions.