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PCMA: The Drugstore Lobby (Again) Looks to Avoid Fraud and Abuse Detection
Date:2/27/2013

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health examines preventing waste, fraud, and abuse in the health care system during a Congressional hearing today, the independent drugstore lobby is continuing to promote an agenda that seeks to ban tools that detect pharmacy fraud, waste, and abuse. This special interest agenda runs counter to the goals of payers, unions, and a bipartisan chorus of policymakers who want to reduce wasteful spending by demanding more accountability in the health care system.

Independent Drugstores vs. the Anti-Fraud Community.  In the last Congress, independent drugstores were the driving force behind legislation (H.R. 1971/S. 1058 and H.R. 4125) which would have limited the use of audits and other tools used to uncover fraud in the pharmacy setting.

Fraud and abuse costs Americans up to $234 billion a year, according to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA). A recent report examined how recent Congressional hearings and government investigations have raised serious questions about opaque business practices and pricing strategies within the independent drugstore industry, which now generates $93 billion in annual sales from 23,000 stores nationwide and ranks among America's most profitable small business sectors.

At independent drugstores, the owner, cashier, and book keeper are often one and the same. These factors make independent drugstores more susceptible to irregularities and make oversight more challenging. The report highlighted three basic questions policymakers are asking of independent drugstores:

  • Why are independent drugstores eight times more likely than other pharmacies to submit questionable bills to Medicare?
  • Are independent drugstores exploiting the drug shortage cris
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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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