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Pharmacists Commend Congress' Concern over Medicare Preferred Pharmacy Drug Plans
Date:3/21/2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Thirty-one U.S. Representatives and a U.S. Senator have written to Medicare raising questions about the impact of so-called "preferred pharmacy" drug plans, which may actually raise costs to the Medicare Part D program and taxpayers, according to a recent statement by Medicare officials and an analysis by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

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Preferred pharmacy plans differ from traditional drug benefit plans in that they establish tiers of pharmacies.  The plans allow most pharmacies to participate as "network" pharmacies in order to allow the plan to satisfy Medicare's geographic access requirements.  But only a limited number of pharmacies are allowed by the plan to participate as a "preferred" pharmacy authorized to offer the plan's lowest, advertised co-pays.  Most plans do not allow independently owned pharmacies to participate as a preferred pharmacy in their network.  The increasing number of preferred pharmacy plans are especially challenging for seniors in rural areas, where independent or regional pharmacies are often the closest pharmacy and where the nearest preferred pharmacy may be 20 miles or more away.

"We have been hearing increasing concern from Medicare beneficiaries and small business owners regarding Medicare Part D plans that feature preferred pharmacy networks," wrote U.S. Representatives H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and 29 other Representatives, adding that "we fear these networks could lead to a decrease in access to quality care and threaten the surviv
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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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