Diabetes medication management spurs chain competition

March 15, 2011

Competition in the diabetes medication therapy and supply market is likely to intensify through 2011.

Key Points

Competition in the diabetes medication therapy and supply market is likely to intensify through 2011. Contributing factors include the Medicare mandate calling for competitive bidding programs for durable medical equipment and supplies; consolidation and expansion of large, remotely managed disease-oriented pharmacy benefit programs; and stepped-up attention nationwide to tracking and improving diabetes-related health outcomes.

Community pharmacies are reeling from the Medicare mandate calling for competitive bidding for durable medical equipment. In response, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to permanently exempt community pharmacies from competitive bidding for diabetes supplies. It also has asked CMS not to use competitive bidding price points in future payments, said John Norton, NCPA's associate director, public relations.

Relief from competitive bidding cannot come soon enough as pharmacies seek ways to better serve their patients through diabetes medication management.

In January, NCPA and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) held the first of 4 sessions focusing throughout the year on teaching pharmacists how to establish an accredited education training program in diabetes self-management. Pharmacists must complete an online component before participating in the sessions.

"This is an opportunity for community pharmacists to not only provide valuable public health service but get reimbursed for it," said Popomaronis.