Pharmacy-related price concessions in Medicare Part D—known as pharmacy DIR fees–have grown faster than most people realize.
We estimate that these payments reached $9.1 billion in 2019. This figure indicates that about 18% of total Medicare Part D rebates are now paid by pharmacies, not manufacturers. Details below.
To address concerns about how these fees are computed, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed some minimal transparency requirements for monitoring the metrics behind DIR fees. I suspect that the proposal will have no near-term impact on slowing the growth trends.
Our long time readers know that I’ve been skeptical about pharmacy owners’ claims regarding the impact of DIR fees. But it does now appear that these payments have become a significant economic burden. When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?