Coalition Urges Hastert to Consider Pharmacists During House Debate on Medicare Prescription Benefit
June 17, 2002
Subject: Pharmacy Opposition to the Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act of 2002
Dear Mr. Speaker:
Specifics of legislation to provide seniors with prescription drug coverage have just been made available to us for the first time today. The legislation is accompanied by representations that the concerns of the profession of pharmacy and the nation's pharmacists have been considered and addressed.
While our concerns may have been considered, they are certainly not reflected here, and have not been responded to in this bill. Therefore, it is important for you to know that the legislation as it is drafted will be strongly opposed by national and state pharmacy organizations, as well as practicing pharmacists who provide direct care to patients everyday throughout the country. Our groups represent the overwhelming majority of pharmacists and pharmacies from each and every practice setting throughout the United States independents, small and large chains, hospitals, consulting and nursing home, food/pharmacy combinations, mass merchandise pharmacies, academics and faculty, and students.
What America's seniors need is a pharmacy benefit they can count on now. They need the peace of mind that comes from knowing their medication costs will not induce poverty. They need the comfort of knowing that their Medicare prescription drug plan allows them to go to the pharmacy of their choice for the medication prescribed by their doctor. Above all, they need a plan that advances patient care, not one that sets it back.
All of the organizations listed below oppose this bill because it:
Taken together, the provisions of this legislation would impose economic hardships on pharmacy providers and could harm many neighborhood pharmacists and pharmacies who are on the front line of health care for millions of our citizens. Please keep in mind that PBMs dictate terms of reimbursement to pharmacies both under coverage and discount card programs. The notion that pharmacies are able to "negotiate" with PBMs is a fallacy. This important fact is often overlooked.
We fully support legislation to provide comprehensive pharmacy coverage for seniors. However, this proposal provides a benefit at the expense of the millions of people who receive valuable care and counseling from their neighborhood pharmacy and pharmacist.
For this reason, the organizations listed below will stand together in opposition to the "Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act of 2002." We consider a vote for this bill to be a vote against pharmacy and pharmacists. We hope that through careful study and debate the ramifications of this legislation will be fully understood and considered before any votes are cast.
American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA)