Update for Pharmacists

CMS has finished mailing new Medicare cards to people with Medicare. Patients are using their new cards in pharmacies, doctor’s offices and other health care facilities. Medicare patients saying they didn’t get a card can go to MyMedicare.gov to get their new numbers or print official cards, or pharmacists can instruct patients to call 1-800-633-4227 to get help.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said drug prices are still too high for patients, and that the administration would go beyond the policies it has laid out in its blueprint if the trend didn’t reverse. He said some early data suggested that the 2019 price increases were smaller and fewer in number than 2018.

House Democrats are quickly intensifying oversight of the pharmaceutical industry, opening what may be one of the most significant investigations into prescription drug pricing in decades. Letter were sent 12 drugmakers requesting detailed information and documentation on “price increases.”

The Trump administration has been pursuing its own plan to lower drug prices by approving more generic medications and trying to do away with industry practices that allow manufacturers, insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to profit at the consumer’s expense.

CVS-Aetna is to fund $100 million for health screenings and volunteering to aid healthfulness. It is to aid neighborhoods improve the health of their residents.

NCPA is working to help pharmacies get paid differently, claiming the pharmacy payment model is complex, convoluted and confusing. Over $400 billion dollars are spent on prescription drugs, yet finding someone in the distribution channel, other than a pharmacy benefit manager, who knows exactly where all of those dollars are going is like trying to locate Amelia Earhart, said B. Douglas Hoey, CEO of NCPA.

Patients don’t know what they will pay when they walk into the pharmacy. Pharmacists don’t know how much they will be told to charge the patient or how much they will be reimbursed.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley will review a bill on pharmacy benefit transparency this session with his committee. The bill introduced last session would force PBMs to disclose rebates provided by drug manufacturers, as well as the amount of rebates passed on to health plans.