Congressional Attention Focused on Independent Community Pharmacy and Patient Access to Care

By Michael Rule, Manager of Public Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy

NCPA’s 45th annual Legislative Conference wrapped up this week, and the timing could not have been more appropriate for independent community pharmacy. It was whirlwind week of legislative activity, to recap:

  • Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced S. 867, the Medicare Prescription Drug Program Integrity and Transparency Act of 2013. This legislation sets standards for pharmacy audits under Medicare Part D and also addresses MAC transparency.
  • Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and John Thune (R-SD) circulated a letter in the Senate addressed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that raises concerns regarding preferred pharmacy networks in Medicare Part D.
  • Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) circulated a letter in the House addressed to CMS asking for a redress to the prohibition on home delivery to patients by independent community pharmacies of diabetes testing supplies.
  • A House Energy and Commerce (E&C) subcommittee marked up and advanced supply chain integrity (or “Track and Trace”) legislation to the full E&C Committee. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and others expressed their support for avoiding any inadvertent and onerous burdens for small pharmacies.

In addition to these developments over the past week, legislation addressing compounding is advancing in the Senate, and as noted earlier this week, Representatives Marino and McMorris Rodgers discussed their respective legislative efforts on behalf of independent community pharmacy patients and pharmacists.

With all that is occurring in Congress, there is added importance that you make your voice heard and contact your senators and representative and urge their support for small business independent community pharmacy. Not only does this let them know of constituent support, but it raises their awareness of these issues. Click here to email your Senators and here to email your Representative. If you prefer to call, click here to find your elected officials’ contact information.

Grassroots advocacy only takes a minute or two but is extremely important.

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