Pharmacy Advocates Continue to Push for Direct & Indirect Remuneration (DIR) Fee Reform in 2019

Jul 26, 2019

Good Neighbor Pharmacies Host Members of Congress in VA and NC over 4th of July Congressional Recess

In May, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their Medicare Part D Final Rule for 2020 and did not finalize DIR fee reforms in the final regulation despite vast support from pharmacy stakeholders and patient groups.  The final Medicare Part D regulation lacking DIR fee reforms was a surprise and a disappointment to pharmacy advocates.

 
AmerisourceBergen (ABC) and Good Neighbor Pharmacy (GNP) are advocating for a legislative fix to reform DIR fees since CMS failed to address this pressing issue via regulation.  The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), National Association of Specialty Pharmacies (NASP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and National Grocers Association (NGA) formed a coalition to lobby for passage of H.R. 1034/S. 640, The Phair Pricing Act of 2019, this year to reform DIR.  ABC’s internal pharmacy experts collaborated with several customers last year to help craft this legislation which was reintroduced in both the House and Senate this Congress.  More than 100 bipartisan Representatives and 28 bipartisan Senators wrote to President Trump in June urging him to finalize DIR fee reform through legislation this year.  
 
Many pharmacists are hosting tours of their pharmacies to educate Members of Congress about the urgent need to fix these retroactive fees hurting pharmacies and Medicare beneficiaries.  In July, U.S. Representative Ben Cline (R-VA) visited GNP customer Larry Hill, owner of Hills Crouch Pharmacy in Roanoke, VA, and U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-NC) visited GNP customer April Duggins, owner of Crossroads Pharmacy in Oak Ridge, North Carolina. AmerisourceBergen’s Lisa Stewart, Doug Ernsberger and Bob Jones joined for the visit with Rep. Cline, and Doug Ernsberger joined April Duggins of Crossroads Pharmacy for the Rep. Walker visit.  Thank you Lisa, Doug and Bob for co-hosting these tours with our pharmacy customers.  Pharmacy tours with lawmakers are an effective way to educate Members of Congress about issues like DIR fees and the impact to pharmacy and patients – please invite your legislators to visit your pharmacy!