Will PCMA proposal for Rx savings materialize?

October 25, 2013

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association is urging Congress to consider a series of policies it believes would save $100 billion in federal prescription drug spending and improve safety in Medicare and Medicaid.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) is urging Congress to consider a series of policies it believes would save $100 billion in federal prescription drug spending and improve safety in Medicare and Medicaid.

The suggestions range from modernizing Medicaid pharmacy services and creating designated pharmacies for controlled substances in Part D to allowing Medicaid to negotiate savings on all brand drugs.   

“These policies are bipartisan, common-sense solutions that have improved pharmacy benefits in the commercial market and could reduce wasteful spending in Medicare and Medicaid,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

Chrissy Kopple, a spokesperson for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), said that organization this week will forward a letter to the House Budget Committee on how pharmacy can help improve health and control costs. 

“NACDS is communicating directly with Congress about a pro-patient and pro-pharmacy agenda that improves lives and improves healthcare affordability. We rely on credible research about the importance and value of face-to-face engagement between pharmacists and patients, and about patients’ reliance on the trust, accessibility, and expertise of community pharmacists,” Kopple said.   

Kevin Schweers, a spokesperson for the National Community Pharmacists Association, said pharmacy benefit managers have a long track record of exaggerating cost savings that do not materialize. He pointed to a recent Fortune magazine article critical of PBMs. “So any proposal they market should be closely scrutinized. It is essential to maintain patient access to the community pharmacists they know and trust,” Schweers said.

PCMA’s proposals include modernizing Medicaid pharmacies, designating pharmacies within Part D to dispense controlled substances, making greater use of preferred and limited pharmacy networks in Medicare, and encouraging chronic care pharmacy and home delivery in Medicare.

Other proposals are allowing Medicare to negotiate discounts on every brand drug, increasing incentive for using generics, expediting the approval of biogenerics, and banning tax deductions for direct-to-consumer drug advertising.