NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) sent a letter this week to House and Senate conferees, as they consider the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18), urging them to support a one-year extension of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) authority to implement the TRICARE Prescription Drug Acquisition Cost Parity Pilot Program as contained in the FY2017 NDAA.

The letter states that the pilot will provide “TRICARE beneficiaries with better access to pharmacist care and freedom to choose where to fill their prescriptions. Moreover, the pilot is anticipated to generate federal savings through lower administration fees and enhanced savings on brand medications through lower net DoD acquisition costs for prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies.”

Implementation of the pilot program has strong bipartisan support. Earlier this year, members of both the House and Senate sent letters to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, urging him to begin implementation of the TRICARE pilot.

Noting that the DoD’s authorization to implement the pilot is set to expire on October 1, 2017, the letter states that the DoD would benefit from more time to consider the benefits of the pilot in order to develop an effective implementation strategy. A one-year extension of the pilot’s authorization was approved in the House version of the bill, but not in the Senate-passed version.

The NACDS/NCPA letter concludes by underscoring that the pilot “…has the potential to produce significant cost savings for the TRICARE program, while at the same time restoring beneficiary access to prescription drugs at all filling locations.”