NACDS’ Anderson urges DIR fee reform in op-ed

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NACDS’ Anderson urges DIR fee reform in op-ed

By Sandra Levy - 03/11/2019
Morning Consult on Friday published an opinion piece by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' president and CEO, Steve Anderson, entitled “DIR Fee Reform: Lining Up Another Win for Patients on Drug Costs.”

Anderson said, specifically, direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fee reform will work to reduce cost-sharing for patients; increase the likelihood that individuals will take medications as prescribed and thus improve health outcomes; reduce the reliance on more costly forms of healthcare; and ultimately reduce overall healthcare costs.

The opinion piece exposes the detrimental effects of DIR fees on the nation as a whole, urging the Trump Administration to finalize its proposals to reform DIR fees.

“The amount that Medicare beneficiaries must pay for a prescription drug is supposed to be based on the cost of the drug. However, health plans often calculate patients’ drug prices without subtracting the dollars that the plans claw back from pharmacies many months after the prescription is dispensed,” Anderson wrote. “So, patients’ drug costs are artificially inflated, because they are calculated based on an inflated base figure that is more than the plans really pay for drugs. HHS has concluded that eliminating this drug pricing game would reduce patients’ drug costs by an astounding $14.8 billion over 10 years.”

Anderson noted, "It is simply unsustainable for pharmacies — or for any business — to be undercompensated, often below cost, for goods and services, and for this reimbursement to be completely unpredictable. That is just the beginning of the story, as the unsustainable cycle proceeds from there: higher drug costs, lower medication adherence, diminished patient health, greater reliance on expensive treatments, higher overall healthcare costs.”

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