ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter to Congress, 130 pharmacist, patient advocacy and business organizations expressed "unified support" for giving Medicare beneficiaries more convenient access to discounted or "preferred" copays at independent community pharmacies willing to accept the terms and conditions of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs).
"Right now, seniors in many communities face either trips of 20 miles or more to reach a 'preferred' pharmacy or must assume higher copays to use a local pharmacy they have maintained a trusted relationship with for many years," the organizations wrote.
Signatories of the letter include key national, regional and state voices, including:
-- Patient advocates (Caregiver Action Network, HealthHIV, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Rural Health Association, National Grange and U.S. Pain Foundation) -- Community pharmacists (National Community Pharmacists Association, American Pharmacists Association, and many other leading pharmacist and pharmacy organizations) -- Other health care providers (AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson Corp.) -- Businesses (Food Marketing Institute, National Federation of Independent Business, and National Grocers Association)
"You have heard of the difficulties beneficiaries are facing when trying to find a pharmacy close by and in their preferred network, especially in rural and underserved communities," they said in the letter. "We believe that this is simply not right."
In addition, the letter noted:
-- Widespread, bipartisan support exists from 30+ members of Congress and numerous consumer groups for applying the "any willing pharmacy" standard to "preferred pharmacy" networks. -- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to express strong support for the policy and emphatically reject arguments that it would raise costs. -- Millions of Americans currently lack sufficient access to basic health care services. -- Congress should "address this critical issue without delay."
The following is a complete list of organizations that have signed the letter to date. The letter is posted at www.ncpanet.org/pharmacychoice and additional signatures are expected to be added as more organizations convey their support.
Alabama Pharmacy Association
Alaska Pharmacists Association
Alliance of Independent Pharmacists of Texas
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Pharmacists Association
American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc.
American Pharmacy Services Corp.
American Society of Consultant Pharmacists
Arizona Pharmacy Association
Arkansas Pharmacists Association
Association of Community Pharmacists
Association of Indian Pharmacists in America
Astrup Drug, Inc.
Brookshire Grocery Company
California Pharmacists Association
CARE Pharmacies Cooperative, Inc.
Caregiver Action Network
Community Pharmacy Prescription Network
Compliant Pharmacy Alliance Cooperative
Connecticut Pharmacists Association
DiCello & Associates, Inc.
Discount Drug Mart, Inc.
Doc's Drugs Ltd.
Federation of Pharmacy Networks
Florida Pharmacy Association
Food Marketing Institute
Georgia Pharmacy Association
Gerould's Professional Pharmacy
Good Day Pharmacy
GPhA Academy of Independent Pharmacy
H. D. Smith Wholesale Drug Co.
HealthPlan Data Solutions LLC
Hi-School Pharmacy Inc.
HomeTown Pharmacy Inc.
Idaho State Pharmacy Association
Illinois Pharmacists Association
Independent Pharmacy Alliance
Independent Pharmacy Cooperative
International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists
Kansas Independent Pharmacy Service Corp.
Kansas Pharmacists Association
Kentucky Pharmacists Association
Keystone Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance
King Kullen Pharmacies
Kinney Drugs, Inc.
Klingensmith's Drug Stores
Louisiana Independent Pharmacies Association
Mallatt's Homecare Pharmacy
Maryland Pharmacists Association
Massachusetts Pharmacists Association
Merwin LTC Pharmacy
Michigan Pharmacists Association
Minnesota Pharmacists Association
Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association
Mississippi Pharmacists Association
Missouri Pharmacy Association
Montana Pharmacy Association
Morris & Dickson Co. LLC
Mutual Wholesale Drug Company
National Alliance for Caregiving
National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
National Community Pharmacists Association
National Federation of Independent Business
National Grocers Association
National Indian Pharmacy Association
National Rural Health Association
Navarro Discount Pharmacies
Nebraska Pharmacists Association
New Jersey Pharmacists Association
New Mexico Pharmacists Association
Niemann Foods, Inc.
North Dakota Pharmacists Association
North Dakota Retail Association
Northeast Pharmacy Service Corporation
Ohio Pharmacists Association
Osborn Drugs, Inc.
Partners in Pharmacy Cooperative
Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association
Pharmacists Society of the State of New York
Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency
Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma, Inc.
Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin
Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists
Rochester Drug Cooperative, Inc.
Sav Mor Pharmacies
Smith Drug Company
South Carolina Pharmacy Association
South Dakota Retailers Association
Southern Pharmacy Cooperative
Tennessee Pharmacists Association
Texas Pharmacy Association
Texas Pharmacy Business Council
Third Party Station
Thrifty White Pharmacy
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
U.S. Pain Foundation
Value Drug Company
Vermont Retail & Grocers Association
Virginia Pharmacists Association
Virginia Retail Merchants Association
West Virginia Pharmacists Association
Wholesale Alliance, LLC
Wilkinson Pharmacy, Inc.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent an $88.7 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 300,000 individuals, including over 62,000 pharmacists. To learn more, go to www.ncpanet.org, visit facebook.com/commpharmacy, or follow NCPA on Twitter @Commpharmacy.
SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association