H.R. 1474: Fair and Speedy Treatment (FAST) of Medicare Prescription Drug Claims Act of 2007 now has 222 co-sponsors. In other words, a majority in the House of Representatives formally support this bill.
Retail pharmacy is becoming extremely effective at defining the legislative agenda and terms of debate. My Lobbying for Pharmacy Profits from January 2 should have been even more aggressive.
I have been very personally disappointed with the amount of nonsense being spewed out there about AMP, Part D, and the future of retail pharmacy. Many public statements have been either factually incorrect or grossly misleading.
But my comments become insignificant when compared to the power of last month’s industry-wide Congressional lobbying effort organized by NACDS, NCPA, and FMI. Did you know about the new bi-partisan Congressional Community Pharmacy Coalition, with 34 founding member from the House? Their tagline is truly great PR: “Preserving patient access to America’s most accessible healthcare professionals.”
Seriously, is anyone else trying to provide any balance on these legislative decisions? PCMA, the trade association representing Pharmacy Benefit Managers, could only muster a bland and uninspired press release stating:
“Before rushing to judgment on the issue of 'prompt pay,' Congress should commission GAO to conduct an independent study to explore this issue generally and the role played by Pharmacy Service Administrative Organizations (PSAOs) particularly.”
Too late – judgment rushing is over! Should we presume that their weak defense indicates tacit approval of the FAST legislation?
Here’s some food for thought from PBMguru, who posted a very interesting comment to this blog a few weeks ago:
“The reality is that most PBM clients are self insured SMB’s (because most of the insured populace is covered by a self-insured SMB). These clients are no different than your independent pharmacies. They are both small businesses trying to compete in today’s marketplace. All of these businesses operate under their own respective billing payment cycles…who is to say which of the small businesses are more deserving of the money? Should we penalize SMB’s for providing a benefit to their employees or should we penalize retail and chain pharmacies for conducting business?”
Yes, PBMguru, life–and the pharmaceutical payment system—is full of tradeoffs. We’ll discover them soon enough.