PHARMACY

NACDS, APhA caution Trump administration on drug importation

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the American Pharmacists Association this week urged the Trump administration to steer clear of legislation that would clear the way for the importation of prescription drugs from other countries.

The two penned a letter calling on Pres. Trump and administration officials to “refrain from endorsing pending legislative proposals that would allow for broad personal and commercial importation of non-[Food and Drug Administration (FDA)] approved prescription drugs.”

The letter noted importation’s risks associated with counterfeit drugs, and specifically the risk of undermining the 2013 Drug Supply Chain Security. NACDS and APhA highlighted extensive documentation of concerns expressed by the FDA and by Canadian authorities.

“Throughout the past 15 years, through speeches, testimony, letters and other consumer resources, FDA has repeatedly sounded the alarm on the risk to patient safety posed by importation of non-FDA approved drugs,” the letter said.

The two organization emphasized that importation would serve to undermine two key elements of pharmacy-led care — the pharmacist-patient relationship and the delivery of value-based care.

“Value-based care models and other efforts to produce savings and promote quality, such as outcomes-based reimbursement, will be more difficult to measure and optimize if patients are allowed to receive care outside the model’s mechanisms to drive results,” they said.

To read the full letter, click here

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NCPA weighs in on proposed CMS DIR fee guidance

BY David Salazar
WASHINGTON — In mid-May, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a proposed guidance on Medicare Part D reporting requirements for direct and indirect remuneration fees. The National Community Pharmacists Association on Thursday submitted to CMS a letter with comments about the proposed guidance. The organization notes that there is some promise in the guidance. 
 
Among the measures NCPA applauded was a change in how DIR fee information is collected with regard to distinguishing between prices concession that pharmacies received and incentive payments to pharmacies from Medicare Part D sponsors. It also commended CMS for including the organization’s previous suggestion for Medicare Part D plan sponsors to detail the metrics by which they assess pharmacy performance. 
 
“While the proposed CMS guidance will not change existing policy with regard to DIR fees, it does have the potential to require plans to provide greater granularity to CMS on DIR amounts and the types of arrangements they put into place,” NCPA CEO Doug Hoey said. “The agency has responded positively to many of our previous recommendations, and even issued an analysis showing the financial havoc retroactive pharmacy DIR fees are causing patients, taxpayers, and pharmacies. We urge CMS to consider our latest suggestions on reporting by plan sponsors.”
 
Among things NCPA would like CMA to address is the need to finalize the agency’s 2015 DIR report on DIR and pharmacy price concessions. It also suggested that CMS include more categories to require plan sponsors to further define the amount of DIR fees charged to non-retail pharmacies, and called for CMS to require Medicare Part D plan sponsors to justify why DIR fees can’t be estimated at the point of sale. 
 
“NCPA remains committed to ending retroactive pharmacy DIR fees by passing S. 413 / H.R. 1038, the Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act,” Hoey said. “However, we’re also committed to working with CMS to provide clarity on DIR fees as they currently exist via the regulatory process.”
 
To read the full guidance, click here, and to read the full text of NCPA’s comments, click here
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New Nevada law looks to help visually impaired pharmacy patients

BY David Salazar

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill that aims to protect blind and visually impaired people from taking the wrong medications has been signed into law in Nevada.

Senate Bill 131, sponsored by state Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, requires retail community pharmacies that dispense drugs to notify patients that prescription readers are available and, upon request, provide prescription readers free of charge for at least the duration of the prescription.
 
The retail community pharmacy must ensure that the label or other device attached to the prescription drug container is capable of conveying to the person using the prescription reader all the information required per NRS 639.2801. These requirements do not apply if the drug is not dispensed in a container with an affixed label or other device pursuant to NRS 639.2801 or the drug is dispensed through the mail.
 
The law applies to retail community pharmacies only, and does not apply to pharmacies that dispense prescription medications to patients solely through the mail, a nonprofit pharmacy designated by the board pursuant to NRS 639.2676, an institutional pharmacy, a pharmacy in a correctional institution or a pharmacy operated by a governmental entity.
 
The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
 
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