August 10, 2010

(Washington, DC) — A recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Request for Proposal (RFP) requiring a “nationwide survey of consumer purchase prices” for drugs at retail pharmacies in Medicaid is consistent with the demands which the independent pharmacy lobby has made of others in the pharmacy supply chain for the past decade. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO Mark Merritt released the following statement today regarding a new blog post in Drug Channels detailing a “top secret” letter the independent drugstore lobby sent to CMS opposing a new pharmacy transparency initiative:

“We can’t have a double standard in which drugstores are shielded from the same type of transparency they routinely demand of PBMs. This is especially true of the independent drugstore lobby, which has for years demanded more ‘transparency’ of others in the pharmacy supply chain. Now, they have an opportunity to provide more of it themselves. A good place to start would be to release the ‘top secret’ letter opposing pharmacy transparency that they sent to CMS.

“Regardless of the substance of CMS’ request, independent drugstores have only themselves to thank for bringing this upon the retail pharmacy community. Since independent drugstores are now the least transparent part of the pharmacy supply chain, it should be no surprise that their own decade-long campaign for ‘transparency’ has finally come full circle.”

The RFP states the survey: “will afford State Medicaid agencies a valid array of covered outpatient drug prices from ingredient costs paid by retail community pharmacies to those prices available to the consumer. Additionally, on an annual basis the contractor will obtain from the State Medicaid Agencies information on their prescription drug payment and utilization rates and prepare a comparative report ranking the performance of the States’ reimbursement prices to the retail prices collected in the survey.”