ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association today expressed concerns in a letter sent to Senate Armed Services Committee and House Armed Services Committee leaders over the potential impact of the administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget on Tricare beneficiaries and community pharmacy.
In a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz.; and a letter to House Armed Services Committee chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., and ranking member Adam Smith, D-Wash., NACDS and NCPA stated that the budget would “increase healthcare costs for the Department of Defense, place significant financial burdens on Tricare beneficiaries and threaten access to local pharmacies.”
The industry groups outlined in the letters what they consider to be the flaw in the budget’s co-payments proposal to incentivize Tricare patients to move to mail order, which they said will, in fact, increase healthcare costs rather than decrease costs.
“The goal ... is to reduce prescription drug spending. However, the co-payments currently in place for the Tricare pharmacy benefit are flawed, and the proposed changes will only build on this faulty structure. According to DOD’s own analysis, in the case of generic medications, mail order is more expensive than the retail pharmacy network,” the letters stated.
NACDS and NCPA urged the committees’ leaders to promote the use of generic drugs at neighborhood pharmacies. "Tricare mail order dispenses generics less frequently than other commercial mail-order programs,” the groups stated in the letters.
The letters also emphasized the importance of cost-savings demonstration projects, and urged Congress to include a medication therapy management project in the FY2013 Defense Authorization bill. “The use of MTM in targeted populations has been found to increase adherence to medications, reduce hospitalizations and physician visits, and reduce costs.”
The NACDS and NCPA urged Congress to ensure that community pharmacy access and choice are preserved for Tricare beneficiaries.