NACDS and NCPA defend TRICARE beneficiaries' right to choose community pharmacy

February 28, 2011

NACDS and NCPA authored a joint letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), emphasizing the ability of community pharmacies to help lower prescription drug costs, and the importance of maintaining the right of military families and veterans to choose where they fill their prescriptions through the TRICARE program.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) authored a joint letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), emphasizing the ability of community pharmacies to help lower prescription drug costs, and the importance of maintaining the right of military families and veterans to choose where they fill their prescriptions through the TRICARE program.

The joint letter was issued to Chairman Levin to address a letter the Chairman received from the Joint Chiefs of Staff urging Congressional support for the President’s budget proposals. While NACDS and NCPA expressed support for the emphasis on increasing generic utilization rates - and noted community pharmacy’s valuable role in doing so - the associations took issue with the concept of incentivizing TRICARE beneficiaries’ use of the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy program.

“We strongly support the recommendation by the Joint Chiefs to encourage greater utilization of generic drugs. Retail pharmacies have a higher generic dispensing rate - 71% - than any other practice setting, and are strong partners in encouraging the use of more affordable, equally effective medications.

“However, we do not support the recommendation by the Joint Chiefs to modify pharmacy copayments to further encourage the use of mail order. TRICARE beneficiaries, particularly retirees, have demonstrated a strong preference to obtain their prescription drugs and pharmacy services from retail pharmacies, despite the fact that there are already strong incentives in the TRICARE program to encourage the use of mail order,” the letter stated.

To view the letter, please visit, http://bit.ly/f10rcU .