NCPA asks for hearing on skyrocketing generic drug prices

January 8, 2014

NCPA has asked congressional leaders to look into the reasons behind the skyrocketing costs of generic drugs.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has asked congressional leaders to look into the reasons behind skyrocketing costs of generic drugs on behalf of community pharmacies and their patients.

In a letter on January 8, NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey asked Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate HELP Committee and Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to schedule an oversight hearing to better understand why there have been “unmanageable spikes” in the prices of generic drugs, which have placed a huge burden on community pharmacies and patients in those communities.

In a recent survey of its members, NCPA found that 77% of more than 1,000 pharmacists reported at least 26 instances in the last six months of a large increase in generic drug’s acquisition price.

“Pharmacists reported patients declining their medication due to increased co-pays and other who are pushed into the Medicare coverage gap where they must pay far higher out-of-pocket costs. In some instances, patients may have been referred to other pharmacies because the community pharmacy could not absorb losses of $40, $60, $100, or more per prescription filled,” wrote Hoey to the congressmen.

A majority of the pharmacists surveyed noted that the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) or third-party payer took up to 6 months to update the reimbursement rate, and did not update it retroactively. Almost 85% of pharmacists said that the lag in reimbursement updates was having a “very significant” effect on the pharmacists to serve patients and stay in business, Hoey noted.