NCPA, NACDS protest TRICARE limitations in Obama budget

February 21, 2012

Retail pharmacy groups are urging Congress to reject budget proposals that would limit pharmacy choice for TRICARE beneficiaries.

Retail pharmacy groups are urging Congress to reject budget proposals that would limit pharmacy choice for TRICARE beneficiaries.

President Barack Obama released the U.S. fiscal year 2013 budget last week, which includes a provision that would discourage TRICARE patients from utilizing community pharmacies by increasing co-pays for prescription medications filled at retail pharmacies, and lowering co-payments for prescriptions filled by mail order.

 “A greater reliance on mail-order pharmacies will circumvent proven community pharmacy-provided services that have demonstrated savings by encouraging the utilization of more affordable medicines, detecting chronic illness early, and increasing patients’ proper utilization of medicine as prescribed,” National Association of Chain Drug Stores President and CEO Steven C. Anderson and National Community Pharmacists Association Executive Vice President and CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, said in a joint statement.

The Obama administration should drop shortsighted policies that would penalize TRICARE beneficiaries for accessing “essential health services” provided by community pharmacies, Anderson and Hoey said.

“Similarly, saddling our nation’s service members and their families with higher out-of-pocket costs in this still-sluggish economy will reduce their access to life-saving and cost-reducing healthcare services,” they added.