PCMA drug diversion ad draws criticism

NCPA calls ad "irresponsible," "a new low"

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An organization representing independent retail pharmacies is criticizing a new ad by a pharmacy benefit manager industry group, calling the ad "irresponsible."

The National Community Pharmacists Association condemned an advertisement by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association that seemed to place some of the blame for drug diversion on pharmacy retailers, asking "Why is the drug store lobby trying to limit pharmacy fraud and abuse enforcement."

The ad was released in response to a hearing Thursday of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, dubbed "Prescription Drug Diversion: Combating the Scourge." The hearing also included testimony from National Association of Chain Drug Stores VP government affairs and pharmacy adviser Kevin Nicholson, who detailed some of the methods that chain pharmacy retailers use to prevent diversion, a major component of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in the United States.

"This divisive and deceptive ad marks a new low," NCPA SVP government affairs John Coster said. "It's like the pot calling the kettle black. PBM mail-order outlets push huge quantities of controlled substances out the door each and every day to patients they don't know — many of whom don't need them or order them — and get delivered to unsecured mail boxes. In fact, mail order was prominently mentioned as a problem by Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway during his testimony before Congress [Thursday]."


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