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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association announced that they have sent joint letters to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, encouraging the rejection of an Obama administration proposal that would “saddle Tricare beneficiaries with higher prices and penalize their utilization of community pharmacists.”
Under the Obama administration’s proposal, Tricare beneficiaries would pay 30% of the cost of their medications at a retail pharmacy without capping annual cost sharing, while mail-order prescriptions would include far lower out-of-pocket costs. The administration’s plan also would increase costs by ending the incentive for drug manufacturers to offer additional price concessions to the Department of Defense beyond those required by law, as the Tricare program would equalize cost sharing between preferred and nonpreferred medicines.
In the letters, NACDS and NCPA urged the committees to abandon that proposal and instead support other “balanced” policy alternatives to increase generic drug utilization, which would reduce costs without restricting patient access to healthcare professionals.
“Rather than instituting changes that unfairly penalize beneficiaries and drive up prescription drug costs, we urge you to increase generic dispensing rates in both the TRICARE retail and mail-order settings,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey wrote. “We feel strongly that a greater reliance on mail order will not only fail to produce the needed savings, but will also compromise patient care, increase waste and penalize those who wish to have their prescriptions filled at their local pharmacy.”
NACDS and NCPA noted that generic drug use in Tricare continues to lag behind other healthcare programs. The program could save $11 billion over 10 years by working with community pharmacists to maximize the appropriate use of generics and by holding its PBM accountable for generic drug dispensing rates, particularly at mail order. The associations believe that this cost savings should be considered as Congress prepares the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 and deficit reduction proposals.