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NACDS, NCPA believe Tricare beneficiaries should have right to choose

Emphasize community pharmacies in letter to committee chairman

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Two lobbying groups representing the nation's pharmacies are emphasizing how community pharmacies can help lower prescription drug costs, as well as the importance of maintaining the right of military families and veterans to choose where they fill their prescriptions through the Tricare program.

In a joint letter sent to letter Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association responded to a letter Levin received from the joint chiefs of staff, urging congressional support for the President’s budget proposals. While NACDS and NCPA expressed support for the emphasis on increasing generic utilization rates — and noted community pharmacy’s valuable role in doing so — the associations noted they did not support the incentivizing of Tricare beneficiaries' use of the Tricare mail-order pharmacy program.

“We understand the burden of rising health costs and the need to control spending in the military healthcare system. We strongly support the recommendation by the joint chiefs to encourage greater utilization of generic drugs,” the letter stated. "However, we do not support the recommendation by the joint chiefs to modify pharmacy co-payments to further encourage the use of mail order. Tricare beneficiaries, particularly retirees, have demonstrated a strong preference to obtain their prescription drugs and pharmacy services from retail pharmacies, despite the fact that there are already strong incentives in the Tricare program to encourage the use of mail order. We believe the choice of where to obtain prescription medications is best left to Tricare beneficiaries."

To view the letter, click here.

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