SCPC Expresses Concern Proposed CMS Rule Threatens Seniors’ Access to Essential Medications, Further Undermines LTC Pharmacy Economic Viability

Washington, DC –The Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) today said its initial review of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes to Medicare Advantage and Part D programs to “lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket expenses” would, in actuality, threaten seniors’ access to essential medications, and further undermine the economic viability of long-term care (LTC) pharmacies.

“Our initial analysis of the proposed CMS Rule is that seniors in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities (SNFs/ALFs) will see their access to essential medications curtailed and that LTC pharmacies’ economic viability will be undermined by further empowering prescription drug plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PDPs/PBMs),” warned Alan G. Rosenbloom, President and CEO of SCPC — the only federal advocacy organization devoted exclusively to the interests of the nation’s long-term care (LTC) pharmacies and the patients they serve.

Rosenbloom noted LTC pharmacy economic viability — and ongoing ability to serve the nation’s most frail, vulnerable citizens — has already been placed at substantial risk by the rapid consolidation of PDPs/PBMs, and in related markets like health insurance and retail, specialty, LTC and mail order pharmacies.

“The unchecked and oligopolistic consolidation among gargantuan firms increasingly dominating America’s health care system undercuts the nation’s commitment to free and fair markets. Ultimately, this places unaffiliated pharmacies –- like a majority of the nation’s LTC pharmacies –- at an unfair and exploitative competitive disadvantage, benefitting neither senior consumers nor competition,” the SCPC President and CEO concluded.

LTC pharmacies, a distinct subset within the pharmacy community, serve a specialized population of seniors in SNFs, ALFs and other residential care settings. The typical patient suffers from multiple chronic conditions, significant impairments in daily living activities, mild to moderate dementia, and takes 12-13 prescription medications daily –- making drug prices and access to needed medications an essential variable in maintaining vulnerable seniors’ health and well-being.

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The Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) is the only national organization exclusively representing the interests of LTC pharmacies. Its members operate in all 50 states and serve 750,000 patients daily in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the country. Visit seniorcarepharmacies.org  to learn more.