Washington, D.C. – In a letter to the new power structure in Washington, D.C., the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) have detailed steps necessary to leverage pharmacy patient care and prevent higher costs that result from untreated conditions.

 “As the incoming Administration and Congress consider potential changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, we ask that you ensure that beneficiary access to pharmacies is protected. Policies that reduce local pharmacy access lead to poorer health outcomes, ultimately resulting in increased future healthcare costs,” the associations wrote to President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI), and House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The letter highlighted:

  • the accessibility of pharmacists;
  • their role in boosting medication adherence, which relates to taking medications as prescribed;
  • the importance of maintaining patients’ choice of pharmacies;
  • the importance of assuring fair and accurate Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement, according to average manufacturer price (AMP)-based federal upper limits (FULs) that were enacted in the Affordable Care Act; and
  • opportunities to build on pharmacists’ vaccination success story by improving patient access to pharmacist services for underserved Medicare beneficiaries.

“Nearly all Americans (91%) live within five miles of a community pharmacy. As Americans’ most convenient and accessible healthcare provider, we look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that Medicare and Medicaid patients can continue to receive cost-effective pharmacy services. As the demand for healthcare services continues to grow, pharmacists have expanded their role by collaborating with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers to meet patients’ needs,” the associations wrote.

While noting the opportunities that exist in newer pharmacist-provided services, the associations emphasized that jeopardizing pharmacy access for medication services threatens health outcomes and healthcare affordability.

The associations explained, “The importance of medication-related services and maintaining access to community pharmacists for the Medicare and Medicaid populations cannot be overstated. Improving medication adherence can help Congress achieve its goals of better managing care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries while lowering the overall costs of healthcare. Medications are the primary method of treating chronic disease, and are involved in 80% of all treatment regimens. Unfortunately, medication-related problems, including poor adherence, costs the nation approximately $290 billion annually – 13% of total healthcare expenditures – and results in health complications, worsening of disease progression, emergency room visits, and hospital stays, all of which are avoidable and costly.”

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The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) represents traditional drug stores and supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies. Chains operate 40,000 pharmacies, and NACDS’ more than 100 chain member companies include regional chains, with a minimum of four stores, and national companies. Chains employ more than 3.2 million individuals, including 178,000 pharmacists. They fill over 3 billion prescriptions yearly, and help patients use medicines correctly and safely, while offering innovative services that improve patient health and healthcare affordability. NACDS members also include more than 850 supplier partners and over 60 international members representing 21 countries. Please visit nacds.org.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America’s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $81.5 billion health care marketplace and employ more than 250,000 individuals on a full or part-time basis. To learn more, go to www.ncpanet.org, visit facebook.com/commpharmacy, or follow NCPA on Twitter @Commpharmacy.
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA), founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 62,000 pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in improving medication use and advancing patient care. APhA members provide care in all practice settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health centers, physician offices, ambulatory clinics, managed care organizations, hospice settings, and the uniformed services.

The National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), founded in 1927 as the National Council of State Pharmacy Association Executives, is dedicated to enhancing the success of state pharmacy associations in their efforts to advance the profession of pharmacy. NASPA’s membership is comprised of state pharmacy associations and over 70 other stakeholder organizations. NASPA promotes leadership, sharing, learning, and policy exchange among its members and pharmacy leaders nationwide.