By: Peter Matz, Director, Health & Food Policy, Food Marketing Institute

DIRLetters-Graphic-June2019Health and well-being, including pharmacy-specific programs, is of the utmost importance to the food retail industry. Supermarket pharmacies provide a positive competitive market force in delivering affordable and accessible prescription medicines to consumers and patients. Over the years, however, FMI members have been frustrated by DIR fees, which are used by pharmaceutical supply chain intermediaries to recoup funds from pharmacies retroactively, often weeks or even months after prescriptions were filled. According to the federal government, pharmacy DIR fees have grown by more than 45,000 percent between 2010 and 2017!  And, in an industry that operates on razor thin profit margins, supermarket pharmacies have virtually no ability to absorb these unexpected costs.

Unfortunately, the administration failed to address the skyrocketing DIR fees in a recent Medicare rulemaking, missing an opportunity to both lower beneficiary out-of-pocket costs and stabilize the operating environment for retail pharmacies. Therefore, FMI united with a diverse coalition of pharmacy groups to continue urging the Trump administration, while also lauding the recent, bipartisan emphasis by Congress on closing the loophole that inflates drug costs for patients and Medicare, and jeopardizes pharmacies. Over the past three weeks, 28 Senators and 105 House Members, respectively, added their voice to the pharmacy DIR reform chorus.

We look forward to working with policymakers to advance pharmacy DIR reform for the benefit of patients and pharmacies. Food retailers can advocate for this change, send a letter to your legislator here.

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