With generic drugs in the national spotlight as a cost-saver for the health care system, the National Community Pharmacists Association is noting that its members are a core provider of these affordable medications.


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NCPA: Community pharmacies drive generics use

September 23rd, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – With generic drugs in the national spotlight as a cost-saver for the health care system, the National Community Pharmacists Association is noting that its members are a core provider of these affordable medications.

NCPA said Thursday that the generic medication dispensing rate of independent community pharmacies hit an all-time high of 72% during 2010, up from 69% in 2009, based in figures in the 2011 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health Inc. The full results of the report are slated to be released at NCPA's 113th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition, to be held Oct. 8 to 12 in Nashville, Tenn.

"Increasing the appropriate use of generic drugs is the fastest, most effective way to reduce prescription drug costs, and independent community pharmacists are helping to lead the way. The 2011 NCPA Digest, which is a snapshot of the community pharmacy industry in 2010, indicates that local pharmacists dispensed generic drugs more often than ever," B. Douglas Hoey, executive vice president and chief executive officer of NCPA, said in a statement.

"Community pharmacists also continue to dispense affordable, generic medications more frequently than mail order pharmacies by 10 to 13 percentage points," Hoey added. "Mail order pharmacies benefit from 'spread pricing', the difference between what the pharmacy benefit manager pays the pharmacy and what it charges the employer, and brand-name manufacturer rebates."

Independent pharmacies' role in driving generic drug utilization — and the resulting cost savings to patients, health plans and employers — was underscored this week with the release of a new analysis conducted by IMS Health for the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), NCPA noted. The study revealed that generic prescription drugs have saved the U.S. health care system $931 billion in the past decade, including $158 billion in 2010 alone.

"The new IMS data indicates that Medicaid can save $1.3 billion annually by achieving a 2% increase in the use of generics, known as the generic dispensing rate. Community pharmacists look forward to working with the federal government, states and other health plan sponsors to further reduce costs through the appropriate use of generics," Hoey stated.

He pointed out that independent drug stores also are a key influencer in a critical area of pharmacy patient care: medication adherence.

"The second major way to reduce prescription drug costs is to ensure that these medications are taken as prescribed by doctors in the first place," Hoey explained. "Community pharmacists work face-to-face to counsel patents and promote proper medication use, or adherence."

Such service at independent pharmacies was recognized earlier this week with the release of the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 National Pharmacy Survey. Independent pharmacy franchises — including Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart and Medicine Shoppe — again were the top finishers in the drug store segment of the marketing firm's annual pharmacy customer satisfaction study.

"Independent community pharmacies pride themselves on providing expert medication counseling, competitive pricing and convenient service," NCPA president Robert Greenwood, a pharmacy owner in Waterloo, Iowa, commented about the J.D. Power pharmacy study. "It's encouraging to see this reminder that our customers are taking note of that personal touch."

NCPA added that the J.D. Power pharmacy customer satisfaction findings reflect those of a 2011 drug store study by Consumer Reports that gave high ratings to independents. In the survey, 94% of respondents said they were highly satisfied with their experiences at independent community pharmacies.

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