NACDS D.C. Fly-In focuses on patient access

PBM reform, DIR fee reform and sustaining patient access to vaccinations, testing and treatment were among the key topics of the Fly-In program.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
Sandra Levy profile picture

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores member representatives assembled in Washington, D.C., from Feb.28March 1 to discuss the future of patients’ access to trusted pharmacies.

“We are extremely appreciative of the NACDS membership’s engagement at this crucial time for the industry and for the Americans it serves,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “Pharmacy continues to have a seat at the policymaking table, advocating for solutions to bipartisan issues that directly impact patients and consumers in neighborhoods nationwide. NACDS thanks members of Congress and their staff for their engagement.

“We look forward to continuing work with leaders in Congress to achieve comprehensive pharmacy benefit manager reform—and to ensure this job gets done and done completely for the American people. We also will continue to urge passage and enactment of the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act in this Congress—which will help maintain access to pharmacist services on which Americans have come to rely.”

On Feb. 28, the NACDS board of directors met with members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss pro-patient, pro-pharmacy priorities. Specifically, NACDS board members urged Congress to deliver on the bipartisan support for PBM reform; for comprehensive direct and indirect remuneration fee reform; and for patients’ continued access to pharmacy-based services beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

NACDS emphasized the need to address all aspects of the association’s principles of PBM Reform. This is important to address “pharmaceutical benefit manipulation” that increases patients’ drug costs, restricts patients’ access to pharmacies and medications and jeopardizes the viability of pharmacies.

[Read more: NACDS report highlights role local pharmacies, pharmacists play in patient-centered services]

As one specific aspect of PBM reform, NACDS noted the 107,400% growth in DIR fees over one decade and the need to reverse this unsustainable situation.

Regarding patients’ access to specific services, NACDS urged passage and enactment of the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act when it is reintroduced in this Congress—to help prevent a roll-back of availability of pharmacist-provided vaccinations, testing and treatment.

Additionally, members of the NACDS board of directors discussed the critical need for comprehensive DIR fee reform—and the importance of maintaining patients’ access to pharmacy-based care—in a Feb. 28 meeting with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

[Read more: NACDS receives ASAE's 2021 Power of A Gold award]

On March 1, NACDS-member retailer representatives serving on NACDS’ Policy Council also visited Capitol Hill to tell pharmacy’s story and to urge Congressional action on these critical issues affecting the viability of pharmacies and the patients who rely on them.

NACDS said it looks forward to welcoming hundreds of advocates from across the nation as part of the soon-to-be-announced 2024 NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill event, a powerful flagship of the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program.