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Senior Spectrum Newspaper
June 2018
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Pharmacy Association Applauds Legislation Introduced to Reduce Drug Costs
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Representatives Doug Collins (RGA) and Vicente Gonzalez (DTX) have introduced legislation to rein in the high cost of prescription drugs and support the needs of specialty pharmacy patients living with life altering and lifethreatening medical conditions. The Phair Pricing Act of 2017 ensures that medication savings are passed along to seniors at the pharmacy counter and not otherwise used to manipulate drug costs or disadvantage the specialty pharmacies serving these patients.

"The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) is so grateful our plea to address specialty pharmacy patient needs has been answered with bipartisan support. Passing this legislation will be a victory for patients, specialty pharmacies, the Medicare program and ultimately taxpayers. High drug costs and anticompetitive business practices that threaten independent specialty pharmacy's ability to care for their patients risks lives and significantly drains Medicare resources. Barriers to access and affordability force some seniors to forgo the medications they need, resulting in life threatening consequences and increased Medicare costs through preventable hospitalizations and medical complications. We look forward to working with Representatives Collins and Gonzalez to pass this much needed and commonsense bill," said Sheila Arquette, NASP Executive Director.

The White House and Department of Health and Human Services recently released a blueprint for drug pricing reform " American Patients First" – reiterating the administration's interest in reforms that would apply pharmacy price concessions charged by Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to the price of the drug at the point of sale. Such concessions are unpredictable and nontransparent and are inappropriately applied as chargebacks on specialty pharmacies, tantamount to a tax on these pharmacies. Specialty pharmacies are often reimbursed far less than their costs to obtain the lifesaving medications they dispense. This threatens their ability to provide critical education to ensure medication compliance and the essential care coordination services for patients with complex conditions such as: cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, and HIV/AIDS. These fees threaten quality and affordable care for seniors while allowing the largest PDPs and PBMs to keep more Medicare dollars for themselves.

"As Congress and the administration address the continued affordability of life changing and often lifesaving prescription drugs, we must ensure we focus on seniors living with severe and complex medical conditions that require treatment with specialty medications,” Arquette said.