NACDS hails House passage of 21st Century Cures

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Legislation positions pharmacy to play pivotal role new drug delivery

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6), which the National Association of Chain Drug Stores said will speed the pace of cures and medical breakthroughs and position pharmacy to play a pivotal role in the delivery of new drug treatments to patients.

US_Capitol_lookingupNACDS said Friday that the House approved 21st Century Cures by a vote of 344-77, with its supporters echoing the mantra “on to the Senate.”

The act — spearheaded by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.) and committee member Rep. Diana DeGette (D., Colo.) — will modernize various aspects of health policy to make available to patients some life-saving innovations emerging in the health care sector, including new medications.

“NACDS commends the leadership of Chairman Upton and Rep. DeGette, and the diligence and support of the bill’s bipartisan and broad supporters in Congress,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement on the passage of 21st Century Cures.

NACDS documented its support for the mission of the legislation more than one year ago in a letter to Upton and Degette. On July 2, 2014, the association stressed the accessibility and expertise of pharmacists and the value that neighborhood pharmacies contribute to medication therapies and health care services. NACDS also described pharmacies’ preparedness to help optimize new and innovative medication therapies contemplated in the 21st Century Cures Act.

“NACDS looks forward to helping to advance those important research provisions in the Senate and, ultimately, to contribute to its implementation by the executive branch,” Anderson added. “Pharmacies and pharmacists in every community stand ready to help foster access to promising cures and treatments that can save and improve patients’ lives and those of their loved ones.”

Throughout the development of the legislation in the House, NACDS noted, the association engaged consistently in the process. NACDS provided statements in tandem with committee hearings, including those that focused on vaccines, an area in which pharmacy has demonstrated its accessibility and expertise, to the appreciation of the public health community. NACDS also advocated to shape provisions related to prescription drug abuse and diversion to prevent unintended consequences that could  threaten legitimate patient access to needed medications.

Previously, NACDS successfully advocated to prevent a provision that would have excluded brand and authorized generic drugs from the calculation of average manufacturer price (AMP) in setting federal upper limits (FULs) for generic drug matching rates under Medicaid. The association noted that this provision could have jeopardized the patient access that is at the heart of the legislation.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R., Pa.) , chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, submitted a statement for the record of the House proceedings which clarified that a subsequent and final AMP-related provision in the legislation “is not intended to affect Medicaid programs’ pharmacy reimbursements.”


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