The National Community Pharmacists Association has expressed its support of the U.S. Department of Defense's efforts to collect the same manufacturer rebates for the TRICARE Retail Pharmacy Program that are applicable to prescriptions filled at TRICARE mail-order pharmacies and military treatment facilities.


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NCPA backs drug manufacturer rebates for TRICARE

March 17th, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association has expressed its support of the U.S. Department of Defense's efforts to collect the same manufacturer rebates for the TRICARE Retail Pharmacy Program that are applicable to prescriptions filled at TRICARE mail-order pharmacies and military treatment facilities.

NCPA said Tuesday that the recommendations were contained in formal comments submitted last week.

TRICARE Retail Pharmacy Network prescriptions are subject to "federal ceiling prices" (FCPs) under law, according to the association, which contends that FCPs should be achieved through rebates paid by drug makers. NCPA said the Defense Department has been examining whether other affected parties in the supply chain, including retail pharmacies, should bear any costs associated with imposing FCPs.

NCPA said it believes that enforcing current law and readopting the March 17, 2009, Final Rule will prevent drug manufacturers from continuing to deny the Defense Department billions of dollars in rebates for TRICARE retail prescriptions through litigation. The association notes that the rebates drug manufacturers have paid to the department are applied mostly to mail-order prescriptions and that, without change, TRICARE beneficiaries may be encouraged to a greater extent to use mail order and lose the face-to-face interaction with their local pharmacists.

"The Department of Defense provides prescription drug benefits to active duty, reserve and retired military families and wants to reduce cost, maintain access and produce the best health outcomes possible," explained Bruce Roberts, NCPA executive vice president and chief executive. "However, drug manufacturers undercut those goals by not paying their fair share of federal ceiling prices. Studies indicate pharmacists are critical to patients in impacting medication adherence, but if drug manufacturers continue to only pay rebates for mail-order prescriptions, then that won’t occur. The Department of Defense should hold the drug manufacturers accountable for all their financial obligations.

"Without changes," Roberts added, "the choice TRICARE beneficiaries take for granted about where to get their prescription drugs might fall by the wayside as increased use of mail order would become an unfortunate but possible reality."

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