PHARMACY

Hy-Vee advocates for immediate reform of pharmacy DIR fees

BY Sandra Levy

Hy-Vee expressed disapproval following a new Medicare rule, published on May 17, that did not provide relief from pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR fees.

Hy-Vee chairman, CEO and president Randy Edeker issued a statement which said, “Today, Hy-Vee is urging lawmakers to support immediate action to reform the use of pharmacy DIR fees, also known as pharmacy price concessions, in the Medicare Part D program. We are shocked that the final rule published on May 17, 2019, by CMS did not include this much-needed reform, despite countless meetings and discussions. We find it outrageous that DIR fee relief was not included in this year’s rule, because it is absolutely critical for the sustainability of pharmacies across the U.S. to meet the needs of our patients.”

Edeker continued, “CMS has acknowledged that DIR fees have skyrocketed 45,000% since 2010 and in some cases, DIR fees have tripled since just last year. These fees are being inappropriately used by Medicare Part D plans and their pharmacy benefit managers to claw back reimbursements from pharmacies for the prescription medications that they provide to Medicare beneficiaries. We believe CMS should act to stop a practice that is not legal under current rules. If action is not taken, it inflicts even more of a catastrophic burden on our customers and our pharmacies.”

Edeker went on to say that pharmacies are closing every day because of the increasing use of these fees – leaving senior citizens with no access to a pharmacy for their medications. “Hy-Vee cannot be one of them, predominately because of the disruption this would create for our older customers, specifically those who live in rural communities and have no other option for a pharmacy.”

Finally, Edeker said, “We urge lawmakers to communicate to CMS the need to take immediate action on pharmacy DIR reform. Specifically, we ask for lawmakers to support the Phair Pricing Act (S.640) that would achieve many of our proposed DIR reforms and save patients billions of dollars while eliminating the economic pressures and uncertainties faced by pharmacies. It is important that we continue to provide the most patient-centered healthcare experience possible for the millions of customers that we serve. In order to do that, it is imperative that DIR reform takes place immediately.”

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