OUR STORY SO FAR
As a reminder, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 required the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to set the Federal Upper Limit (FUL) on payment for generic drugs at AMP plus 250 percent. The FUL is currently computed using the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) list prices, although some states opt to establish reimbursement limits below FUL at maximum allowable cost (MAC).
The change to AMP was advocated in September 2005 by the Bipartisan Commission on Medicaid Reform and the National Governor’s Association. This change was made in part because pharmacies were earning extraordinary profits from dispensing generic drugs in the Medicaid program.
More recently, NACDS and NCPA have opposed
Legislative action continues via pleas to pass The Fair Medicaid Drug Payment Act of 2007 (S.1951 and H.R. 3700). Neither bill has progressed very far. Senator Baucus, who sponsored S.1951, seems preoccupied with delaying the Medicare physician fee cut for 18 months. Perhaps Congress will feel generous since they voted on Thursday to delay seven new Medicaid regulations.
Just in case, NACDS sent a letter to Congress that asks for joint passage of the AMP bills along with unrelated bills about e-prescribing in Medicare. I presume the unstated motivation is to link the purported savings from e-prescribing to the extra costs of the Medicaid AMP increase.
NOT THE END
So, we are not very close to resolution, which is perhaps a small net benefit to pharmacies. I’ll occasionally check in on our old friend AMP but will primarily turn my attention to other topics until some big news breaks.