ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday expressed support of several policy changes proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to a document filed in the Federal Register.
"We are encouraged by CMS’ response to problems with preferred pharmacy networks," said Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "CMS’ proposal to allow any willing pharmacy to offer a plan’s lowest, or ‘preferred,’ cost-sharing should help level the playing field for community pharmacies to participate in these plans and should benefit seniors by giving them more competition and choice among pharmacies in their drug plan."
Hoey commended CMS’ efforts to address concerns over maximum allowable cost pricing, "particularly in the wake of soaring costs for certain generic drugs," he said. "Giving community pharmacists both greater transparency into the MAC-setting process and more assurance that MACs should be updated frequently to reflect real-world costs is the least that prescription drug plans should do."
NCPA expressed support for CMS' move away from "co-pay arrangements that incentivize the use of mail-order over retail."
"Research utilizing Medicare’s own data found that community pharmacies offered 90-day supplies of medication at lower cost and that these pharmacists did a better job promoting the proper use of cost-saving generic drugs compared to mail-order," Hoey noted.
NCPA also highlighted CMS' proposed expansion of coverage of medication therapy management services. "We thank the agency for recommending a prohibition on reimbursement methods, such as prorated dispensing fees, that penalize long-term care pharmacies for adopting dispensing techniques that are intended to reduce medication waste," Hoey said.