NCPA: Nearly 3,500 pharmacists voice support for DIR proposal

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NCPA: Nearly 3,500 pharmacists voice support for DIR proposal

By Sandra Levy - 01/29/2019
The National Community Pharmacists Association's year-long effort to build support for a proposal to move pharmacy price concessions to point of sale has culminated in a milestone.

Nearly 3,500 pharmacists and 170 patients have formally voiced their support for parts of a proposed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' drug pricing rule that would eliminate the retroactive nature of pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fees.

The proposed changes also received support from more than 150 pharmacy stakeholder organizations representing diverse interests, which unified their voices and submitted a joint letter of support to CMS. Additionally, more than two dozen patient advocacy organizations supported the proposed rule on the premise that, if finalized, the pharmacy DIR fixes will save the average patient nearly $200 per year or more, in some cases on their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.

NCPA submitted its own comments in response to the proposed rule, which is titled “Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses.” NCPA joined forces with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy on a joint comment letter asking for a pharmacy DIR fee fix and standardized pharmacy metrics.

Additionally, NCPA sent a joint comment letter with the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition focusing on harm to seniors with proposed protected class changes, as well as on the need for a new definition of negotiated price and standardized pharmacy measures.

Several letters supporting the proposed DIR fixes also are being sent by members of Congress.

“NCPA had asked CMS to include all pharmacy price concessions at the point of sale — or, ideally, eliminate pharmacy DIR altogether — in response to the administration’s request for information about its ‘Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs,’” NCPA CEO Doug Hoey said. “This proposed rule is evidence that we are being heard, and we applaud the administration for putting out this proposal to include pharmacy price concessions at the point of sale. Eliminating the retroactive application of these fees would provide much needed predictability and stabilization to pharmacy operations, and would save Part D beneficiaries billions of dollars.”

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