NCPA sends letter to House committee chairman on ways to help pharmacy, patients

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The independent pharmacy lobby has issued a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., with insight on how certain current or proposed federal regulations can burden pharmacies and their patients.

The National Community Pharmacists Association offered Issa — who requested input on which pieces of legislation can negatively impact the nation and how they can be improved — input on four pieces of legislation: competitive bidding for diabetes testing supplies, IRS 1099 reporting requirements, reduced access to over-the-counter medicines through flexible spending accounts and limited access to the 340B drug discount program. NCPA EVP and CEO Kathleen Jaeger said that while some federal regulations are "well-intentioned, [they] undermine patient access to cost-saving services and disadvantage the small businesses that provide this care."

The specific problems and remedies the NCPA noted included:

  • That future requirement for all diabetes testing supplies and other products to be competitively bid or subject to a similar pricing scheme will cause disruption in services, according to the NCPA, and that a permanent community pharmacy exemption should be enacted, as well as authorization to continue providing home delivery to special needs patients;

  • Support of repealing the new IRS 1099 reporting requirements on businesses that purchase goods and services from corporations for $600 or more, because of the significant additional paperwork of filing an average of 100 to 200 new Form 1099s per pharmacy. That mandate, the NCPA declared, would limit the amount of time pharmacists can spend with patients;

  • NCPA support of policies that encourage the appropriate use of OTC medications and concern with the regulations prohibiting consumers from using their pre-tax FSAs to pay for OTC medicines unless the patient has a prescription. Such restrictions discourage the use of low-cost means to treat health conditions, the group said; and

  • NCPA support of reforms to the 340B program to ensure medications, which are required to be sold at a significant discount by the manufacturer to federally funded clinics and certain disproportionate share hospitals, that are used for the intended populations: uninsured and underinsured Americans. Currently, the NCPA said, the patient eligibility criteria are ill-defined and reportedly have allowed providers to offer well-insured patients co-pay discounts that may lure them away from community pharmacies, while diverting limited federal funding from the neediest of patients.  "We seek a more practical definition to include only patients who do not have prescription drug insurance," the NCPA wrote.


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