The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has expressed strong support for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives` current efforts to address the problematic new pharmacy
reimbursement formula for Medicaid generic prescription drugs
. On Aug. 17, the Chamber sent Reps. Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), prime sponsors of H.R.3140, the "Saving Our Community Pharmacies Act of 2007", a letter endorsing their bill. The Chamber also sent a letter to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), prime sponsor of S.1951, the "Fair Medicaid Payment Act of 2007", endorsing his bill on the same day.
In response, Bruce Roberts, RPh, National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) executive vice president and CEO, issued the following statement:"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has lent their considerable weight to the growing chorus who support congressional intervention to change the unfair Medicaid generic prescription drug
formula for pharmacy reimbursement. If allowed to be fully implemented on Jan. 30, pharmacies will be paid, on average, 36 percent below their acquisitions cost because of a formula based on a flawed Average Manufacturer Price (AMP).
"While the bills being considered in the House and Senate take a different approach to addressing the AMP problem, they both fix the reimbursement system to ensure that patients across the country will have access to their local pharmacist. Time is of the essence to pass both bills before Congress adjourns this year.
"Without Congress` help a health
care disaster will occur when pharmacies are faced with either limiting or dropping their participation in the Medicaid program; or in the most extreme cases where Medicaid patients are a large percentage of their patients, even going out of business. The Chamber understands the AMP formula as currently constructed will turn Medicaid into a substantial loss leader for community pharmacies, but the people who will lose the most are the patients.
"With access to prescription drugs limited, especially in the underserved rural and urban communities where community pharmacies often reside, Medicaid patients will have their health jeopardized. They will then turn to emergency rooms and doctors` offices to get their health care needs met, which is a much more expensive proposition. In the case of community pharmacies closing because of AMP, all of its patients will lose the services and trusted counsel of their local pharmacist.
"NCPA welcomes the Chamber, the world`s largest business federation, in this critical legislative push to maintain patient prescription drug access by allowing community pharmacies to avoid the tremendous financial strain that would be caused by the current AMP formula."
View Chamber`s letter to Rep. Boyda and Emerson here.
View Chamber`s letter to Sen. Baucus here.
The National Community Pharmacists Association
, founded in 1898, represents the nation`s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 pharmacies. The nation`s independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains dispense nearly half of the nation`s retail prescription medicines. For more information go to http://www.ncpanet.org.