ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 28, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA issued the following statement in response to a new report released by the AARP Public Policy Institute documenting that a number of generic drug costs increased substantially in 2013:
"This new report tracks with concerns previously expressed by NCPA and underscores the need for action by Congress to support patient access to essential medications. Moreover, a 2015 survey of 700 community pharmacists concluded that this situation has only become worse since 2013, the year examined in the AARP study.
"Patient access to these medications is threatened by more than their rising cost. Independent community pharmacies are absorbing unsustainable losses of $100 or more on these prescriptions because insurance middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) may wait months to raise reimbursement rates to pharmacies to cover the higher costs.
"This 'buy high, sell low' situation threatens the viability of independent community pharmacies, which provide care in many underserved rural and inner city areas without other convenient pharmacy options. Already some pharmacies can no longer stock certain medications for patients because the reimbursement rates are so far below the cost of acquiring and dispensing them. In addition, because of the lack of transparency, PBMs may be profiteering during this current situation by charging health plans much higher rates than they reimburse the pharmacies.
"We encourage lawmakers to cosponsor H.R. 244. This bipartisan legislation would ensure that federal health plan intermediaries, such as PBMs, update reimbursement rates for rising generic drug costs to keep pace with market conditions. It would codify and expand upon a requirement that Medicare has adopted for the 2016 plan year."
Note: Community pharmacists recently discussed this situation in a brief, online video on YouTube.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of nearly 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.8 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more, go to www.ncpanet.org, visit facebook.com/commpharmacy, or follow NCPA on Twitter @Commpharmacy.
SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association