House Ways & Means Committee Member Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and House Energy & Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) had a meeting and tour of the Thrifty White headquarters in Plymouth, Minn., with the pharmacy team and NACDS Past Chairman Bob Narveson, president and CEO of Thrifty White Pharmacy.
Lawmakers back in their congressional districts while Congress is on recess had an opportunity through the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program to discuss with pharmacists the critical repercussions caused by pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees. House Ways & Means Committee Member Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and House Energy & Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) had a meeting and tour of the Thrifty White headquarters in Plymouth, Minn., with the pharmacy team and NACDS Past Chairman Bob Narveson, president and CEO of Thrifty White Pharmacy.
The pharmacy team said they spent a good portion of time discussing DIR fees and provider status legislation. The team noted that both Guthrie and Paulson understood the challenges that DIR fees create and showed an interest in helping to find solutions. Rep. Guthrie was helpful earlier this year as part of an NACDS RxIMPACT campaign, urging Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to move forward with a proposal to respond to rising drug prices by addressing DIR fees in the Medicare Part D program. The letter to Azar, signed by 81 members of Congress, including Rep. Guthrie, stated that DIR fees have had a “crippling impact on patients, Medicare and pharmacies,” and that the “reimbursement uncertainty makes it extremely difficult for pharmacies to operate and provide high-quality care to their patients.”
Lawmakers also reported back to their constituents in their newsletters, highlighting their pharmacy tours. House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee Member Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) toured a new Fred’s Pharmacy in Idabel, Okla., and wrote in his newsletter that it was “great” to learn more about the pharmacy and the “opportunities it will bring to the community.” Notably, Rep. Mullin cosponsored NACDS-backed legislation, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act, to require electronic prescribing for Schedule II through V controlled substances prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D to help prevent fraud, abuse and waste. The President recently signed into law the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), which includes provisions of the electronic prescribing bill.
Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) wrote to his constituents, “I toured the Genoa Healthcare Pharmacy in Evansville. They are a leading example of patient centered care; from their discrete building for patient comfort, to hand loaded monthly peel pack medications that have led to a 96% medication adherence rate, they are leading the way.”
These NACDS RxIMPACT in-district and in-state activities represent a total of 73 in 2018 so far. These events complement other aspects of NACDS RxIMPACT, including NACDS RxIMPACT Day on Capitol Hill—through which pharmacy advocates from all 50 states visited in-person every Congressional office in Washington, D.C. this past March.