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NCPA, NACDS hail TRICARE pharmacy co-pay freeze
December 23rd, 2010
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores have applauded lawmakers for approving a measure that freezes retail pharmacy co-payments in TRICARE, the health coverage program for the armed forces.
In a joint statement, NCPA executive vice president and chief executive officer Kathleen Jaeger and NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson called the provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed Wednesday by the Senate and the House of Representatives, a win for TRICARE patients and community pharmacies.
The measure prevents an increased co-pay for patients if they buy their prescription from a retail pharmacy.
"Today's vote directing the Department of Defense not to increase retail pharmacy co-payments is a victory for TRICARE beneficiaries' choice as to where they fill their prescriptions. For another year, the co-payment system will respect the choice of TRICARE patients who prefer to obtain their pharmacy services from community pharmacies and prohibit the Department of Defense from creating incentives for patients to use mail," Jaeger and Anderson said in the statement.
"The co-payment freeze ensures that our men and women serving in the military, their families and veterans will continue to have the freedom to choose the pharmacy of their choice," they added.
NCPA and NACDS also cited the leadership of Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) and Jim Webb (D., Va.) in furthering the measure.
"Community pharmacists share their concerns over rising health care costs and look forward to working with Congress and Pentagon officials to rein in TRICARE's expenses," the joint statement said.
Earlier this year, NCPA and NACDS also supported the Defense Department's efforts to collect the same manufacturer rebates for the TRICARE retail pharmacy program that are applicable to prescriptions filled at TRICARE mail-order pharmacies. The final rule, issued in October, clarified that manufacturers should discount prices for TRICARE retail prescriptions. It goes into effect Dec. 27 and applies to all drugs dispensed after Jan. 28, 2008.