CMS favors continued local pharmacy distribution of diabetes-testing supplies to seniors

July 20, 2010

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed regulation on June 25 that would exempt community pharmacies from the upcoming bidding process for Medicare Part B diabetes-testing supplies, along with instructions that exempt most independent community pharmacies from accreditation requirements.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed regulation on June 25 that would exempt community pharmacies from the upcoming bidding process for Medicare Part B diabetes-testing supplies, along with instructions that exempt most independent community pharmacies from accreditation requirements.

In a statement, Douglas Hoey, RPh, acting executive vice president of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), said that the proposed regulation and Medicare’s instructions have significant implications for pharmacies.

“Community pharmacists can be tremendous assets in the fight against diabetes,” he said. “Initiatives such as the Asheville Project have demonstrated how local pharmacists can work with patients and physicians to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.”

He added, “That’s why Medicare is right to exempt community pharmacies from the bidding program. Otherwise, independent pharmacies could have been forced out of the program. They aren’t able to command the same prices paid by large national chains or mail-order vendors. Further complicating matters, it’s common for mail-order customers to end up in independent pharmacies seeking instruction on how to use the testing supplies - care for which the local pharmacist is not compensated.”