NCPA backs Sen. Bennet's cost of dispensing proposal

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association announced support for language included in an amendment by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., that calls for a study of the factors that influence a pharmacy's cost of dispensing a Medicaid prescription.

Bennet is hoping the amendment for such a study -- which would be done by the Government Accountability Office -- would be included in pending legislation that would extend Medicaid funding to states, unemployment insurance and a range of tax provisions.

"It's been over a decade since the federal government studied the pharmacy's cost of dispensing," said NCPA EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts of Bennet's proposal. "In that time, the dispensing fees paid to community pharmacies in Medicaid and other government-sponsored health plans have continued to decrease while the pharmacy's cost of dispensing is on the rise," Roberts said, adding that the dispensing costs range from $10.50 to $11 each, while aggregate average dispensing fee paid by the states under Medicaid has been estimated to be between $4.75 and $5.02 per prescription.

"It's also critical for Congress to include in this pending legislation an extension of current federal Medicaid payments to the states, also known as FMAP," Roberts said. "Failure to approve this funding could force states to drastically slash Medicaid budgets, potentially cutting pharmacy reimbursement to the point of forcing independent pharmacies out of the Medicaid program or to close altogether. Under that scenario, costs to the state go up as underserved patients may be led to more expensive emergency rooms for care while good, local jobs are jeopardized."

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