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NCPA Applauds Pharmacy TRICARE Provisions in the Congressional Passage of the Defense Authorization Bill
Date:12/17/2007

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) thanks Congress for including key pharmacy provisions in the Defense Authorization Act Conference Report for fiscal year 2008 it passed last week. These provisions allow community pharmacies in our military health care system (TRICARE) to continue dispensing prescription drug services in a patient-friendly and cost-efficient manner.

The current freeze on increases to retail pharmacy co-payments was extended, preventing patients from being penalized for having their prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies as opposed to mail-order pharmacies. The Department of Defense will be able to negotiate with drug manufacturers for prescription drug federal pricing discounts at retail pharmacies, as is currently the case with mail order pharmacies. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Defense Department will save $1.8 billion over the next five years by having these all-inclusive negotiation rights. In response Bruce Roberts, RPh, NCPA executive vice president and CEO, issued the following statement:

"Our military's sacrifice and service clearly warrants that they have the best health care possible, especially when our nation is at war. Part of that commitment must include prescription drug services, and through the years community pharmacies have been at the forefront of fulfilling those needs for our active duty military, veterans, and their families. Included in the Defense Authorization bill that just passed Congress were critical provisions allowing community pharmacies to continue that relationship. These provisions extend the rebates of the federal supply schedule pricing to include retail pharmacies, and there is a one-year freeze on the increases in co-pays for retail pharmacies. What is also noteworthy is that any incentives or mandates for mail order were not included.

"Congress chose the prudent course of action by working to level the playing field for community pharmacies, so they can remain a viable, cost-effective option for TRICARE patients who deserve a choice when deciding where to get their prescription drugs filled. Special thanks goes out to the Congressional leadership that made this possible: the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Service Committees, Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Representatives Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.)."

The National Community Pharmacists Association, founded in 1898, represents the nation's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 pharmacies. The nation's independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains dispense nearly half of the nation's retail prescription medicines. To learn more go to http://www.ncpanet.org.


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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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