Pharmacists to blitz Capitol Hill on medication bill

Currently, about 12.9 percent of seniors in the Medicare prescription drug program are eligible to participate in Medication Therapy Management because they have multiple chronic conditions. The legislation would expand that to people who have only one chronic condition and to dual eligibles enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, while requiring prescription drug plan sponsors to reimburse pharmacists and other healthcare providers who provide the service.

A spokeswoman for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which supports the legislation, said the stars may be aligning this year for the legislation to get traction.

"Right now it's a new Congress, there's a focus on fiscal discipline and healthcare costs are still looming," Chrissy Kopple told The Hill.

The New England Healthcare Institute, a nonprofit research organization, said in a recent analysis that Americans who don't stay on their drug regimens cost the system as much as $290 billion a year, or 13 percent of total expenditures.

More than 300 pharmacy advocates, including pharmacists in white coats, will be meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday and Thursday for the drug store association's third annual NACDS RxIMPACT Day. The association also has a press conference scheduled with Hagan on Thursday.