NCPA pushes prompt pay as cure for Part D

June 18, 2007

After repeated warning about the devastating impact of the Medicare Part D benefit, NCPA officials finally have the data to back it up. In 2006, the first year of the new drug benefit, more than 1,100 community pharmacies closed shop and those that survived saw dramatically lowered net operating income and sales income even as their prescription sales rose.

After repeated warning about the devastating impact of the Medicare Part D benefit, NCPA officials finally have the data to back it up. In 2006, the first year of the new drug benefit, more than 1,100 community pharmacies closed shop and those that survived saw dramatically lowered net operating income and sales income even as their prescription sales rose. Association officials unveiled the data in an effort to push along H.R. 1474, prompt payment legislation. "We need immediate action on this," insisted Rep. Mike McIntyre (D, N.C.), one of the bill's sponsors. "Pharmacies are teetering on the brink." In response, PCMA officials issued a statement disputing the need for the bill, contending that "PBMs are proud of their track record of success in Part D, paying clean claims in a time frame consistent with all other government standards."

According to the annual NCPA-Pfizer Digest survey, the number of single-store independent pharmacies, independent chains, independent franchises, independent long-term care and home I.V. pharmacies, and independent pharmacist-owned supermarket pharmacies dropped 5%, to 23,348, in 2006 after years of continued growth. According to Douglas Hoey, R.Ph., NCPA's senior VP and COO, one of the biggest concerns was a 30% drop in net operating income from 3.7% in 2005 to a record low 2.6%. Average independent pharmacy sales fell 0.5%, to $3.73 million, in 2006.

To see more Hot off the Press news articles, click here.

To go to the Drug Topics homepage, click here.