NCPA, healthcare groups recommend CMS delay 'short cycle' rule

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Community Pharmacists Association and 20 healthcare groups expressed their concerns over the proposed Medicare Part D long-term care “short cycle” rule.

The groups recommended that CMS postpone its implementation of a rule that would require dispensing certain prescription medications in seven-day supplies or less, rather than the traditional 30-day supply.

“Industry shares CMS’ interest in reducing waste in the provision of pharmaceuticals,” the letter stated. “Pharmacies currently utilize a number of different techniques in an attempt to achieve this goal, including the use of shorter dispensing cycles for a limited number of expensive medications, automated dispensing systems and drug take-back and credit programs. However, the relative costs and effectiveness of these techniques in reducing waste have not been adequately studied or reported in peer-reviewed literature.

“[We recommend that] CMS postpone its implementation for seven-day-or-less dispensing (using authority granted by the implementing statute to allow the effective date to be for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2012) while conducting a proper analysis of the rule’s true costs by using a comprehensive study or pilot of realistic dispensing options,” the letter concluded.