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NACDS questions Rx reimportation bill, hails 1099 repeal vote
March 4th, 2011
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – New legislation in the Senate has the National Association of Chain Drug Stores reiterating its stance against the reimportation of prescription drugs.
NACDS said Thursday that it has expressed concern about the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2011 (S. 319), introduced last month, in a letter to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine). The bill seeks to authorize the reimportation of prescription medications and permits the implementation of a track-and-trace system for prescription drugs.
The letter expressed pharmacy's commitment to improving patient health and lowering costs in a manner that protects patient health and safety, maintains a safe and secure drug distribution system and supply chain, and fosters communication between patients and pharmacists.
"NACDS shares your goal of reducing prescription drug costs. However, we do not believe that consumer safety can be ensured under a prescription drug reimportation system,” the letter to Sen. Snowe stated.
In the letter, NACDS also highlighted issues regarding the development of prescription drug track-and-trace system. "It is important to consider the complexities, technical and feasibility issues, and formidable costs for all drug supply chain stakeholders if such systems were mandated," the association stated. "These systems have not undergone pilot programs to test their reliability, scalability, and address implementation and operational concerns."
Despite concerns with the legislation, NACDS also highlighted common ground: improving patient health and reducing costs. The association urged Congress to enact legislation that would advance pharmacist-provided medication therapy management (MTM) services and boost use of generic drugs.
"Instead of pursing importation as a way to reduce drug expenditures," the letter said, "we urge the consideration of policies to support cost-saving alternatives, such as greater adoption of medication therapy management and increased generic utilization."
Also on Thursday, NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association hailed a bipartisan effort to repeal the burdensome 1099 reporting requirement for businesses.
The House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.), which seeks to repeal the 1099 provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) health care reform law.
“NACDS is pleased that the House voted to repeal the burdensome provision that would require businesses — including pharmacies — to report to the Internal Revenue Service on a 1099 form the total payments to any individual vendor that is paid more than $600 in one year," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement.
"The 1099 mandate is a prime example of an administrative mandate that will interfere with pharmacies' ability to furnish convenient and cost effective health care," Anderson noted. "Having to spend exorbitant amounts of time on paperwork is not in the best interest of patients and their medication and health care needs," he added.
NCPA executive vice president and CEO Kathleen Jaeger said in a statement that the House vote puts opponents of the provision "on the cusp" of eliminating a tax reporting requirement "that forces pharmacists to spend more time dealing with paperwork and less time doing what they do best — helping patients.
"This follows on the heels of the Senate taking similar action and will require the two bills to be reconciled. We are quite hopeful that the differences will be worked out," NCPA stated Thursday. "There is strong, bipartisan support for taking this corrective action, and President Obama has indicated he wants to address this issue and should sign the bill that emerges from Congress."
NCPA noted that before the House vote, it joined a large coalition of groups that sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) urging for the repeal.