ARLINGTON, VA — July 16, 2008 — The Food Marketing Institute praised Congress for overriding President Bush’s veto of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (H.R. 6331). The law includes provisions that will delay a Medicaid drug reimbursement formula that could have forced more than 11,000 pharmacies to close, including many operated by supermarkets.   

     “This is a true victory for the patients served by community pharmacists across the country,” said Cathy Polley, FMI vice president of pharmacy services. “Patients can rest assured that access to their local pharmacist and needed medications remains in place.”

     The law delays until September 30, 2009, the implementation of the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) reimbursement formula. Government, academic and industry studies agree that this formula would cause pharmacies to lose money when dispensing generic Medicaid prescriptions.

     The legislation also helps pharmacies by speeding reimbursement for Medicare Part D claims to 14 days for those submitted electronically and 30 days for those submitted by other means. The current reimbursement time often exceeds a month.

     Both the Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly to override the veto. The House voted 383 to 41 and the Senate voted 70 to 26, far more than the two-thirds necessary to block the President’s veto.