Alexandria, Va., August 13, 2012 – The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) drafted and delivered a joint pharmacy industry letter to House appropriators last week expressing “serious concern” about a recently introduced bill that would eliminate funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in fiscal year 2013.
The proposed termination of AHRQ was contained in the House Appropriations Committee’s draft fiscal year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill, introduced July 17, 2012.
The joint pharmacy letter, signed by 11 national pharmacy organizations, was sent to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers and Ranking Member Norm Dicks on Aug. 9. In it, the organizations underscore the important role that AHRQ plays in funding unique programs that benefit members of the pharmacy groups, and in turn, the patients that they serve.
“We strongly urge you to reconsider and, at a minimum, provide funding for the agency equal to the funding approved by the Senate, which provided $364 million for FY13,” the organizations say.
The AMCP-drafted letter was signed by Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and Rite Aid Corporation.
Among other things, the letter points out that AHRQ was authorized in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to directly fund a medication therapy management (MTM) grant program that supports MTM pilot programs nationwide. These programs will provide patients who have complex health conditions with access to a pharmacist under contract with their health plan or prescription drug benefit. The pharmacist assists patients with management of their medication, checks for contraindications between prescribed drugs, and addresses any side effects the patient may experience.
Evidence shows that these programs help reduce health care costs in the future by encouraging the proper use of medications and helping patients stay adherent to their therapies.
“While we recognize and understand the pressure that members of the Appropriations Committee face as they attempt to control federal spending, we believe that terminating AHRQ would be a decision that will save money in the short-term, but would sacrifice quality and savings, and could have enormous detrimental effects on spending in the long-term,” the letter states.
To read the full Aug. 9 letter, click here, or visit the AMCP webpage Letters, Statements & Analysis at www.amcp.org/2012.