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    The Future of Independent Pharmacy

    A Q&A with NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA.


    Why do DIR fees continue to be such an important issue for independent pharmacists?

    When we surveyed our members about their 2017 priorities, it was the top issue. Nothing indicates any lessening of the PBM industry’s growing use of these unpredictable retroactive pharmacy clawbacks. That is why we are committed to garnering as much support as possible for companion bills S. 413/ H.R. 1038, The Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Spending Act, which would ban the retroactive nature of these fees so pharmacies and patients would have an accurate picture of what the costs are for prescription drugs at the point of sale. The momentum is on our side.

    The proposed legislation would save the federal government $3.4 billion over 10 years according to a study from the Wakely Consulting Group. In addition, a Medicare analysis  has determined that DIR Fees are pushing Medicare beneficiaries into the donut hole and catastrophic phase of coverage faster. PBMs simply can’t justify continuing the status quo with DIR Fees.  

    What can independent pharmacies be doing to combat the opioid epidemic?

    Independent community pharmacies have been very engaged in combatting this crisis. On the local level there are many examples of them offering the type of education and access to opioid-overdose-reserving drugs like naloxone. On the federal level we are engaged with Congress and the Trump Administration in offering proposals that we believe will make a difference. For example, we recently submitted eight recommendations to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee that build on existing efforts by bringing them to the masses by doing things like allowing pharmacists to prescribe naloxone and creating national standards for prescription drug monitoring programs. Given the scope of the problem, pharmacists can anticipate changes, possibly including more electronic prescribing and limits on prescription quantities.

    B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA
    Doug Hoey is CEO, National Community Pharmacists Association.


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