NCPA to Texas government: Contain Medicaid costs by utilizing community pharmacists

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Texas policymakers seeking to contain Medicaid costs should utilize community pharmacists to achieve both savings and optimal health outcomes, the National Community Pharmacists Association suggested on Thursday.

"Local, community pharmacists see firsthand both patients struggling to afford their medications and states grappling with significant budget deficits,” stated NCPA EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey. "Community pharmacists are leading the way to dispense lower-cost generic drugs, where appropriate for the patient, and we can work with state officials to further increase their use. In addition, pharmacists are trusted by their patients and can play a leading role to ensure proper medication use — an area estimated to have savings potential as high as $290 billion annually."

Both NCPA and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores have sent Texas leaders recommendations to help reduce Medicaid costs, while ensuring patients have continued access to their local pharmacists.

There is a concern that the state will opt to reduce dispensing reimbursements and push prescription fills toward mail order. "The truth is that the present dispensing fees paid by Medicaid to Texas pharmacies fail to cover a pharmacy's cost of dispensing, as determined by a study conducted by the state of Texas and independently verified,” Hoey noted. “Reducing pharmacy dispensing fees would widen that gap and could force pharmacies out of the Medicaid program and reduce patient access to cost-effective treatments. Ensuring adequate dispensing fees is even more important today as Texas proceeds with its plans to reimburse pharmacies at no more than the cost they pay for medications.”