Public policy victories saving billions for chain pharmacies, NACDS asserts

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Legislative and public policy victories last year saved chain pharmacy retailers more than $4.1 billion in operational costs, according to a new study from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

NACDS announced today the results of a detailed analysis of the public policy successes enjoyed by the organization and its member companies in 2007, and the impact those victories in the legislative and policy arenas had on chain pharmacy. Result: billions of dollars in added value for retail members of the organization, NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson asserted, and additional savings to come as a result of more recent policy successes in 2008.

Anderson today announced a theme the group will use to drive its member-service philosophy and member communications during the current economic climate: “See the return of NACDS.” To measure that return effectively, Anderson said, the organization’s research team developed an analytical model, based on a hypothetical 10-store chain and a 25-store chain.

An analysis of 2007 federal issues and victories in states where each chain operates showed a savings of $1.03 million for the 10-store chain, and $2.9 million for the 25-store operator. Among the victories that contributed to those savings:

• Prevention of federal track and trace requirements for prescription drugs;

•  Change in the approach to National Provider Identifier (NPI) requirements for Medicaid that prevented the rejection of some pharmacy claims;

•  Delay in the implementation of the Medicaid tamper-resistant paper requirement, which allowed time for smoother implementation, preventing the rejection of pharmacy claims;

• Maintenance of TRICARE prescriptions by preventing a transition to mail order for this program;

•  The blocking of the implementation of Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement cuts.

“NACDS works aggressively to create a favorable political and business climate for chain members in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals across the country,” Anderson said. “We vigorously advocate for legislation and regulations that benefit our membership, and work constantly to amend or defeat legislation that would increase costs or impose unnecessary burdens on chain pharmacies.

“Combined with the value of bringing buyers and sellers together at NACDS meetings, and NACDS’ value as a source of education and information, we take seriously our responsibility to report back to members about how they can truly see the return of NACDS.”

Public policy victories in 2008 should also bear fruit in the form of additional cost savings for retailers, Anderson noted. Among those successes: a delay in AMP-based cuts in Medicaid prescription reimbursements and new provisions for prompt payment of Medicare prescription claims; a delay in the Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment; new incentives for the use of electronic prescribing in Medicare; a long delay of the electronic pedigree requirement for prescription drugs in California; the preserving of pharmacy choice in the TRICARE military health program; and Internet pharmacy legislation that distinguishes between legitimate and “rogue” online operations. NACDS and its members also lobbied for—and won—pro-pharmacy provisions in a measure designed to prevent methamphetamine production and abuse.

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