The National Community Pharmacists Association said a smaller health care reform bill introduced by Rep. Marion Berry (D., Ark.) includes several provisions that would strengthen the ability of community pharmacies to provide services to their patients.


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Berry health bill would boost community Rx, NCPA says

March 12th, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association said a smaller health care reform bill introduced by Rep. Marion Berry (D., Ark.) includes several provisions that would strengthen the ability of community pharmacies to provide services to their patients.

The legislation, H.R. 4813, would exempt pharmacies from Medicare Part B durable medical equipment, orthotics, prosthetics and supplies (DMEPOS) accreditation requirements, safeguarding seniors' access to necessary products like diabetes testing supplies, as well as provide reasonable pharmacy reimbursement — a federal upper limit of 300% of the weighted average manufacturer price (AMP) — for Medicaid prescription generic drugs, according to NCPA.

The association said the proposal also would provide more transparency of costs imposed on patients and health plan sponsors by pharmacy benefit managers.

"As the leaders in the House, Senate and White House attempt to conclude their comprehensive health care reform efforts, we hope that they follow Berry's lead," NCPA executive vice president and chief executive officer Bruce Roberts said in a statement.

"Pharmacists should be exempted from the ill-advised DMEPOS accreditation requirement. Those paying the bills deserve real transparency from the unaccountable PBM industry," he explained. "Fair reimbursement levels for Medicaid generic prescription drugs will allow community pharmacies to continue offering those services to our most economically disadvantaged citizens."

A former pharmacist and the co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Community Pharmacy Coalition, Berry has been a leader in addressing challenges facing pharmacies and their patients, NCPA noted.

"Congressman Marion Berry has been a champion for the concerns of community pharmacies and their patients," Roberts commented. "He understands the vital role they play in keeping patients healthy. More importantly, as someone who represents a rural district where community pharmacies are often the only local health care provider, he recognizes that the federal government's policies must not endanger patient access to clinically trained pharmacists and their services."

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