Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), the only pharmacist currently serving in Congress, is pictured at a previous NACDS Total Store Expo. Carter serves on the Congressional Doctors Caucus and was present when NACDS and NCPA briefed members this week on the importance of DIR fee reform.
NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) held a briefing this week for the Congressional Doctors Caucus. The Caucus, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), is comprised of 16 medical providers in Congress who use their medical expertise to develop patient-centered healthcare policy.
NACDS and NCPA discussed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recently released proposed rule—Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses—and explained the serious repercussions of direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees and the impact they can have on patient access to care and on pharmacies, who are struggling to maintain their businesses amid the uncertainty caused by the retroactive fees. The groups noted that they have advocated strongly for DIR reform in the CMS proposal because it will benefit pharmacies and the patients they serve.
The Caucus members were very engaged and receptive to the information and stated they also have concerns about drug pricing issues because they directly affect their patients. They indicated that they do not want to be in the position of prescribing needed medications for patients, which they subsequently will not be able to afford at the pharmacy.