NCPA supports DIR companion legislation introduced in Senate

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NCPA supports DIR companion legislation introduced in Senate

By Michael Johnsen - 02/22/2017

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Following its support of a similar measure introduced in the House of Representatives, the National Community Pharmacists Association last week endorsed bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., that would prohibit pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration fees from being applied after the point-of-sale for prescription drugs dispensed to Medicare beneficiaries.



The legislation is a companion bill to H.R. 1038, also introduced in the House of Representatives last week. "This legislation would address a top concern for independent community pharmacy owners: huge monetary clawbacks assessed by Medicare drug plans, or their intermediaries, pharmacy benefit manager corporations, long after prescriptions are filled and the pharmacy paid," stated Douglas Hoey, CEO NCPA. "Like its House companion bill, H.R. 1038, S.413 would prohibit the imposition of such fees after pharmacies fill prescriptions and are reimbursed in Medicare Part D."



This issue is as much about patient access as it is about pharmacy business issues, Hoey added. "These fees distort the accuracy of drug cost information on Medicare Plan Finder — the only publicly available resource accessible to Part D beneficiaries who rely on this information to make critical decisions about their health care. In addition, these DIR fees increase beneficiary out-of-pocket costs for needed medications and in doing so push them more quickly into the 'donut hole'  — the point at which they are responsible for 100% of prescription drug costs until they reach catastrophic coverage," Hoey noted. "In other words, Part D beneficiaries who need and use their drug plan are punished the most by the fees. That's not fair, and it needs to be corrected by law."



Additional U.S. Senators who are sponsors of S.413, include (in alphabetical order): Sens. John Boozman, R-Ariz., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., James Lankford, R-Okla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.