Changes to limit pharmacy choices for veterans

(Information from Apple Discount Drugs, Clinton/National Community Pharmacists Association)

According to Jim Axmacher at Apple Discount Drugs in Clinton, thanks to a recent contract with Express Scripts (PBM), Tricare is planning to drop most independent pharmacies from their current network.

Axmacher explains in an email that, “Tricare/ Express Scripts process the claims locally for our Veterans,” adding, “Independent pharmacies had no say in this and we [have not received] a formal announcement from Tricare or Express Scripts PBM, to date, at our pharmacy.”

He says that, while Apple is trying to address this issue with their current patients, he feels that the community as a whole needs to know.

The National Community Pharmacists Association has sent out an information sheet to its member pharmacies that provides information on why the changes are being made and how veterans (and any other concerned community member) can contact members of Congress and the Department of Defense to let them know that they would like to maintain their right to choose where they get their prescriptions filled. We have included it in this story on our website.

(NCPA) New Tricare Pharmacy Network Restrictions Eliminate Patient Choice

You may have received a letter from Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefit manager that administers the TRICARE benefit, that our pharmacy may soon no longer be in the network. We are extremely saddened by these developments, and we have enjoyed the privilege of serving your health care needs.

Why Did TRICARE Make These Changes?

Recently, the Department of Defense awarded a $4 billion contract to Express Scripts and at the same time reduced the size of the retail pharmacy network. Express Scripts, which owns its own mail-order and specialty pharmacy and is a direct competitor to independent pharmacies, has slashed payments to community pharmacies thus making it nearly impossible for a pharmacy to be able to participate and serve our military and their families. This action will take pharmacy choice away from you, and from millions of other active and retired military and their families.

What Can You Do?

Submit a complaint about your pharmacy of choice being excluded from the TRICARE network by calling 1-877-363-1303 or sending an email to DOD.customer.relations@express-scripts.com. Also mail a hard copy of your complaint directly to: Defense Health Agency Pharmaceutical Operations Directorate 7700 Arlington Boulevard, Suite 5101 Falls Church, VA 22042-5101

Contact your U.S. senators and representative. Look up their contact information here: https://bit.ly/fight4rx-legislators

Share your story on social media, tagging @MilitaryHealth, @TRICARE, and @ExpressScripts in your posts.

Submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Contact info@fight4rx.org for guidance on submitting a letter to the editor.

Ask about options to purchase prescriptions off of your insurance. In some cases the cash price may be lower than your insurance copay

Axmacher writes that “the men and women of our community, our veterans that have served our country, deserve the choice [of] their pharmacy providers.”

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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