During the Business Program at the NACDS Total Store Expo (TSE) in Boston on Sunday, August 26, NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, detailed NACDS’ commitment to important legislative priorities, such as presenting an ideal forum for retailer-supplier collaboration; commitment to fighting the phantom fees known as pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees; and commitment to advancing pharmacy’s role as part of the opioid-abuse solution.

Anderson described the state of NACDS’ work on DIR-fee relief and opioid-abuse prevention. Along with pharmacy-reimbursement issues and expanding the industry’s scope of business, these areas comprise the four campaigns on which NACDS is focused.

“For those not familiar with DIR, let’s put it this way. DIR fees are phantom fees. They result from a loophole in a regulation,” Anderson said. “They are inflating patients’ drug costs. And they are squeezing pharmacies out of business,” he continued. “We are bringing everything we have to this fight. In July, he noted, the Senate Finance Committee included parts of NACDS’ DIR relief package in a draft of a drug-pricing bill, and “we are pushing for a better product as that bill moves forward. But we have a long, long way to go,” he said.  

Anderson also announced a larger communications initiative that describes pharmacy’s role as part of the opioid-abuse solution. He said that it “serves as a tribute to pharmacists and as our pledge to remain part of the solution.

“It is imperative that we continue to emphasize pharmacy’s work as part of the solution to the opioid-abuse epidemic,” Anderson stated. “And we have to turn up that volume right now. Opioid abuse and addition has likely touched someone you know.”

“Pharmacies are viewed as part of the solution, not part of the problem. Pharmacies and pharmacists are highly trusted, and so are their public policy recommendations. People realize that pharmacists can only do so much, and illegal fentanyl is a big part of the problem. “Despite challenges, pharmacies are doing great work.

“Last year, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law very important legislation. The new law included a NACDS-supported electronic-prescribing requirement to end fraud and abuse. Half of the states have enacted e-prescribing requirements that NACDS has supported, and we are working for even more solutions.”

Anderson also noted that NACDS passed an important milestone in August. More than 5,000 pharmacists and student pharmacists, he reported, have earned certificates in the NACDS Point-of-Care Testing Program. “With our partners, we have been at this since 2015,” he reflected.

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