No DIR Reform in CMS' 2020 Final Drug Pricing Rule

No DIR Reform in CMS’ 2020 Final Drug Pricing Rule

Despite over 4,000 comments from pharmacists and organizations like Currus, NCPA, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), and others across the country encouraging change, CMS elected not to address DIR reform in their final 2020 drug pricing rule released on Thursday.

CMS said in a statement that they “will continue to carefully review these comments as we continue to consider policies that would lower prescription drug costs, address challenges that independent pharmacies face, and improve the quality of pharmacy care.”

NCPA and NACDS quickly issued a joint statement in response to the rule:

“We are disappointed and frustrated that this rule fails to finalize pharmacy DIR reform as proposed, to the detriment of seniors and community pharmacies. Our organizations have been joined by many pharmacists, pharmacy stakeholder groups, patient advocacy organizations, patients, and members of Congress in advocating that all pharmacy price concessions be included at the point of sale — or eliminated altogether — to provide senior patients with lower costs and pharmacies with more certainty.”

NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey also said that they will continue to evaluate other options that could lead to pharmacy DIR reform and that they “do not consider this the final chapter in this battle for community pharmacies and the patients they serve.”

Despite the lack of DIR reform in this 2020 rule, Currus CEO Pete Stern sees a lot of positive movement on the DIR front and reaffirms Currus’ commitment to fighting this issue on behalf of independent pharmacies in Kansas.

“Currus will continue its work with NCPA, our congressional delegation and CMS on DIR reform. It is obvious that independent pharmacy has gained momentum in the DIR battle and we remain undeterred in moving forward.”