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Cochran, Wicker seek transparency for prescription drugs

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U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are encouraging the adoption of a plan that would help improve transparency in the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program to aid seniors and community pharmacies.

Cochran and Wicker were two of 21 Senators who signed a letter urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to adopt the proposal on pharmacy price concessions.  This would effectively ban retroactive Direct and Indirect Remuneration fees on Medicare Part D prescription services in 2019.

“Pharmacy price concessions account for real differences between the listed prices of prescription drugs and those drugs’ final, actual costs,” the Senators wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

“By requiring that all of these pharmacy price concessions be reflected in the negotiated price at the point of sale, CMS’s proposal will help increase the transparency and accuracy of prescription drug costs in Medicare Part D, and help significantly lower American seniors’ out of pocket drug costs,” they said.

In a joint media release, the Senators say that a current lack of transparency in pharmacy price concessions in Medicare Part D often leads to higher costs for seniors and creates uncertainty for the community pharmacies who serve them. Many of these pharmacies are in rural or medically-underserved areas.

The Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association has supported the CMS proposal.

Cochran and Wicker have also cosponsored the related Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act (S.413), which would prohibit Medicare Part D plan sponsors and pharmacy benefit managers from retroactively reducing payments on accurate reimbursement claims submitted by pharmacies.

The letter was led by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who are also the primary sponsors of S.413.

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