Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wrestling with AMP

CMS won’t appeal the preliminary injunction against the full implementation of the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) Final Rule. So, there’s still No AMP for You, at least until CMS regroups. But stay tuned because industry insiders are now rallying behind a Senate bill that will fix AMP once and for all.

AMP-Mania XI

Gosh, it’s hard to believe that the AMP Injunction is already 11 weeks old!

Drug Topics recently ran a cover story called Bracing for a Showdown, which has a useful background on the AMP story from the pharmacists’ perspective. I pop up in paragraph 51 (out of 53) to scare the daylights out of pharmacists by stating:

“Pharmacists are being exposed to economic realities that they haven't faced before that are removing protections that protected them from fundamental economic realities. Retail pharmacy is now experiencing what has happened in other retail sectors over the past 25 years. Pharmacies need to get big, get focused, or get out.”


NCPA has posted its two most recent submissions to CMS related to the Final Rule:

NCPA’s Comments on CMS’ Final AMP Rule

Appendix to NCPA Comments

The Appendix is by far the more interesting document because it attempts to support NCPA’s claims that roughly half of all independent pharmacies will vanish due to AMP. Rather than rebutting the statistically shaky claims in the Appendix document on the blog, I will simply suggest that you re-read my Pharmacy Profits & Part D post as well as the comments to that post.

I wonder if the Editors of Drug Topics secretly agree with me about the exaggerated claims of harm from AMP. They chose to illustrate the showdown using the metaphor of professional wrestling – a “simulated sport and performing art.” (!)

S.1951 TAGS IN

I recently had the opportunity to ask Kathleen Jaeger, President and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, about the future of AMP. She told me that there will be a coordinated legislative push this Spring for S.1951 (a.k.a. The Fair Medicaid Drug Payment Act of 2007). The first volley was sent Tuesday by NACDS with this letter to Senate and House leaders.

This bill, which has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, has 42 co-sponsors, including Senator Barack Obama (but not Senators McCain or Clinton). I covered the key points from this bill in Last Ditch Effort for S.1951 last November, when there was an attempt to get movement before the Winter Recess.

CMS has not even bothered to update its own page on FUL since the injunction, so the momentum remains with the pharmacy industry. As scholar and philosopher "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Ph.D., once said: "Just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions."


  1. Is there a like HB and what is the Number

  2. Yes, the comparable House bill is H.R. 3700 and is also called the Fair Medicaid Drug Payment Act of 2007. I've been told that there's less momentum behind the House bill.