Study: Legislation would hinder access to lower-cost pharmacies

A study's results suggest the Any Willing Pharmacy bill (HR 793) would hinder access to lower-cost pharmacies and boost Medicare spending.
A study's results suggest the Any Willing Pharmacy bill (HR 793) would hinder access to lower-cost pharmacies and boost Medicare spending. | Contributed photo
The Any Willing Pharmacy bill (HR 793), supported by the drugstore lobby, would limit access to lower-cost, preferred pharmacies under Medicare Part D and increase Medicare spending by $21 billion in the next 10 years, the Moran Company's research said.

"Lower-cost, preferred-pharmacy plans have become the very foundation of Medicare Part D," Mark Merritt, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said. "It makes little sense to put these plans at risk."

The PCMA said seniors enrolled in plans featuring preferred pharmacies can fill their prescriptions at almost any pharmacy, but they also gave the option of using a lower-cost preferred pharmacy. Currently, almost nine out of 10 Part D plans give seniors the option to lower their out-out-pocket costs by using a preferred pharmacy.

The Moran research found that under the legislation’s requirements, pharmacies would cease to offer discounts because it would no longer be required for preferred network participation. Additionally, Moran research showed that the legislation would increase federal mandatory spending by $21.32 billion between 2015 and 2024.

On the other hand, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) endorses the legislation and said seniors would have more convenient access to discounted payments for prescription drugs.

"This bipartisan legislation would help give Medicare beneficiaries easier access to their prescription drugs at lower copays, while infusing greater competition into the Part D program," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said.

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Pharmaceutical Care Management Association 325 7th St NW Washington, DC - 20004