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NACDS: Retail pharmacies win as military cuts Rx costs

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores declared victory for retail pharmacies and military personnel and their families this week when the Department of Defense (DoD) said it will get lower prices for retail prescription drugs under its TRICARE health care plan.

The DoD announced Tuesday that it expects to slash $1.67 billion in spending on prescriptions sold in retail pharmacies in fiscal year 2010 in the wake of the full implementation of Section 703 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The department said that in recent years it has paid commercial rates for prescriptions purchased in the TRICARE retail pharmacy network. At the same time, the DoD has received federal ceiling prices — the maximum price that can be charged for brand-name drugs — in military treatment facilities and the TRICARE mail-order pharmacy.

But through Section 703 of the NDAA and the final rule implementing the regulation, the DoD said it will now get these same federal discounts in the TRICARE retail pharmacy network.

"This is a true victory for military service members and their families," commented Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of NACDS.

"Those discounts will result in remarkable savings for the department, which translates to pharmacy choice for TRICARE beneficiaries," he said in a statement Thursday. "Military families will maintain the option to obtain their prescriptions and other pharmacy services from a retail pharmacy."

That flexibility of choice also gives military families greater access to consult with retail pharmacists, Anderson noted. "The value of a pharmacist in counseling on adhering to medication regimens, preventing possible drug interactions and improving health outcomes is invaluable to all patients and should not be limited for the brave men and women and their families who serve and sacrifice," he explained.

The TRICARE program serves more than 9.4 million beneficiaries worldwide in the Military Health System, according to the DoD.

“These are significant savings to the Department of Defense and are crucial to our effort to slow the rapid growth of pharmacy costs,” stated Rear Admiral Thomas McGinnis, chief of TRICARE pharmaceutical operations.


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