On September 11th, 23 of 28 Senate Finance Committee (SFC) members sent a letter
led by SFC Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (D-OR), to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma urging DIR fee reform. AmerisourceBergen and Good Neighbor Pharmacy helped secure 12 bipartisan Senators who had not previously recorded public support for DIR fee reform as letter signatories. The letter highlights that DIR fees have increased 45,000% from 2010-2017 according to CMS and, if CMS required DIR fees to be passed on to patients at the point of sale, this policy could save seniors an estimated $7-$9 billion in out-of-pocket costs over 10 years.
The SFC letter is the result of a major lobbying campaign led by NCPA, NACDS, NASP and APHA, with strong support from several other associations, and active engagement from AmerisourceBergen Government Affairs and hundreds of community pharmacists. While HHS and Congress still have work to do to address DIR fees, strong bipartisan support from the powerful Senate Finance Committee indicates that DIR fee reform remains a priority issue in the ongoing drug pricing debate. We will continue to advocate for DIR fee reform through legislation and/or regulation, as we believe both pathways remain viable options.