The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has joined with other retail pharmacy groups in urging congressional leaders to uphold patient access to diabetic testing supplies.


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Rx groups: Keep diabetes supplies out of CMS bidding

July 11th, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has joined with other retail pharmacy groups in urging congressional leaders to uphold patient access to diabetic testing supplies.

NACDS said late Friday that the association and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) have sent a letter to Senate and House leadership that calls on Congress to maintain the current exclusion of diabetes testing supplies provided by retail pharmacies from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Part B competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment.

Although diabetes supplies are deemed as durable medical equipment under the competitive bidding program, which was created by Congress in 2003, CMS "intentionally and wisely" excluded those retail pharmacy items from the process to ensure access to these vital supplies for diabetic patients, NACDS explained.

The groups noted in the letter that pharmacists play a key role in serving diabetes patients.

"Medicare patients with diabetes rely heavily on local retail pharmacies for prescription medications and diabetes testing supplies. Pharmacists help seniors with diabetes understand the best way to use their diabetes testing equipment and are uniquely positioned to help identify changes in patients' conditions that may require additional referral and treatment. This coordinated care is vital to seniors with diabetes, helping them manage their disease, navigating through the various options available to them, and preventing more costly interventions," the organizations stated in the letter.

"Ending the retail pharmacy exclusion from the competitive bidding program would be a major mistake. This would significantly reduce access to local pharmacies as a source of care. Limiting access to supplies and pharmacist consultation will lead to undertesting, decreased medication adherence, poorer outcomes and increased costs," the letter said.

Also on Friday, NACDS said it has submitted comments to the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health to underscore community pharmacy's commitment to promoting drug safety and the proper use of prescription drugs.

Addressing the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the subcommittee held a hearing Thursday titled "PDUFA V: Medical Innovation, Jobs and Patients."

NACDS outlined its efforts to partner with policymakers to address drug safety, including initiatives to improve patient health through medication therapy management (MTM) services; target illicit drug sellers; improve the communication of patient medication information; and work with law enforcement to return and dispose of unwanted prescription drugs.

"NACDS and the chain pharmacy industry support the goals of providing consumers with safe medications and working to prevent illegitimate Internet drug sellers from targeting U.S. consumers with unsafe medications. We also support providing patients with a useful and understandable drug information document (the "one-document solution"), and providing patients with a safe and legal means for disposal of their unused medications. We believe that these are important issues surrounding the use of prescription drugs,” NACDS stated in its comments.

“In addition, we are devoted to important initiatives to improve patients' adherence to their prescribed medications. Chain pharmacies and their pharmacists work with their patients daily to provide them with information and counseling on the proper use of their prescription medications and the importance of adhering to their prescription drug treatment," the association also noted. "Further, NACDS and our member companies support policies that work to prevent illegitimate Internet drug sellers from selling or offering to sell drugs to U.S. consumers in violation of federal and state laws. We also support efforts to provide patients with means for disposal of their unwanted medications that are authorized by law enforcement."

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