Federal Issues

Thousands Sign on in Support of DIR Proposal

According to NCPA, nearly 3,500 pharmacists and over 150 pharmacy stakeholder organizations have supported a potential change in DIR fees in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed pricing rule for 2020. The proposed change would eliminate retroactive DIR fees and issue them at the point of sale. This move would save patients…

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President Trump Legalizes Hemp with Farm Bill Signing

On Thursday, Dec. 20, President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law. The bill passed out of the House last week with a vote of 369-47 and passed the Senate on Tuesday with an 87-13 vote. Among its many agricultural measures, the bill removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act – effectively legalizing hemp…

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Changes to DIR Fees Featured in CMS’ Proposed Rule for 2020

On Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their proposed rule for 2020 titled Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses. The proposed rule supplements President Trump’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs that was released in May 2018…

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Kansas General Election Results

After several months of hard campaigning in state and national elections, the suspense is finally over. Laura Kelly will be the next governor of Kansas, the third person to serve as Governor in a ten-month span. The Kansas House will have many new faces next session, along with a handful of changes in the Senate,…

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President Signs Opioid Legislation into Law

Today, President Trump signed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act into law to further address the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 49,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2017. The bill, which passed out of Congress with bipartisan support, is aimed to help…

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President Signs ‘Gag Clause’ Bills into Law

Today, President Trump signed two bills into law that will allow pharmacists to disclose the lowest cost of prescriptions to their patients. Previously, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have enforced so-called “gag clauses” that prohibited pharmacists from informing their patients if they could purchase their prescriptions for a lower cost out-of-pocket vs. through insurance. The Patient…

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Bills Banning Pharmacy ‘Gag Clauses’ Head to President’s Desk

Yesterday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed two bills that would prohibit “gag clauses” by health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Gag clauses prohibit pharmacists from preemptively informing customers if their prescription would cost less if they paid out of pocket versus paying through insurance. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act and the Know…

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Senate passes bill banning pharmacy ‘gag clauses’ for Medicare Part D

Last Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill designed to stop the restrictions and PBM threats tied to “gag clauses” in Medicare Part D plans. The bill, also known as the Know the Lowest Price Act, would allow pharmacists to inform their Medicare Part D patients if the cash price for a prescription is lower than…

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HHS Secretary Azar Expresses Concern about DIR Fees

Earlier this week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar spoke to the House Committee on Education and Workforce about the policies and priorities of his agency. He touched on several topics including the opioid epidemic, mental health, and prescription drug prices. Azar also spoke about gag clauses and DIR fees during…

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President Announces Plan to Cut Drug Prices

On Friday, May 11, President Trump spelled out his plan to bring lower prescription prices to consumers. In doing so, his rhetoric included pointed remarks – “Everyone involved in the broken system – the drug makers, insurance companies, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers and many others – contribute to this problem.” The plan is called a…

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