Collins Calls for Pharmacy Relief During Pandemic
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in writing a letter to Congressional leadership requesting the next coronavirus aid package include pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) – or pharmacy price concession – clawback reform. These long overdue reforms would remove barriers that threaten the financial stability of pharmacies and ensure pharmacies can continue supporting patients during this challenging time.
“Our pharmacies are working round the clock to support patients and protect them from avoidable emergency room visits while our medical system is at maximum capacity,” they wrote. “While pharmacists will continue to support their patients’ access and adherence to medication, we cannot forget that prior to the pandemic, the pharmacy community was already facing extreme financial strain.”
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, DIR fees grew by 45,000 percent between 2010 and 2017, causing a number of community pharmacies in Georgia and across the nation to close their doors.
“Many of our districts have seen a wave of pharmacy closures, with more than 2,000 community pharmacies lost over the last two years,” they wrote. “We cannot afford more closures as we grapple with a national pandemic and need to protect patient medication access.”
For years, Collins has been calling for the elimination of retroactive pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees. In February 2019, Collins reintroduced the Phair Pricing Act, which would lower the cost of prescription medication for patients in the Medicare Part D program by eliminating retroactive DIR fees.