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NCPA Statement on Bogus PCMA Study About Cost to Fix Medicare Part D
Date:11/30/2007

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) has released a study falsely claiming that pending legislation requiring prompt payment of Medicare Part D prescription drug claims will cost billions of dollars. PCMA represents 10 pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the corporate middlemen who administer prescription drug plans. In response, Bruce Roberts, RPh, executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), issued the following statement:

"PCMA's newly-released, so-called study barely passes the laugh test. In it, PricewaterhouseCooper appears to have been commissioned to obtain information from five PBMs to determine if paying pharmacies on time will affect their profitability. You get what you pay for, and since the study's objective was to highlight the supposed cost of prompt payment compliance, the results were predictably supportive of that premise. Throwing out these bogus numbers as a way of scaring Congress is both desperate and really undermines what little credibility the PBM industry ever had.

"The intent of the Medicare Part D prescription program was not for PBMs to aggressively exploit the lack of reimbursement timing standards. The Medicaid program is able to reimburse pharmacies in a timely fashion without its administrative cost swelling. Why would prompt payment create such a financially onerous administrative hassle for the multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded PBMs, who surely have the capability to make the adjustment? While their earnings soar, community pharmacies are experiencing a financial crunch that was pivotal in causing five percent of these small businesses to close in 2006 -- the first year the program was put in place -- after years of stability. PBM profiteering is causing a patient access problem.

"Passing H.R. 1474 in the House and S. 1954 in the Senate is the right thing to do and the prospects for action before Congress adjourns this year are good. Community pharmacies want to be able to serve their Part D patients in the best way possible, but PBMs reimbursement practices make that increasingly more and more challenging and should end no matter how many number-fudging studies they tout."

To learn more about a truly independent study that demonstrates the severity of the Part D reimbursement problem go to: http://www.ncpanet.org/pdf/leg/ut_study_exec_sum_090607.pdf

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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