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Pharmacy leaders meet with White House on Medicare prescription drug benefits

The administration wants to educate consumers about the new Medicare prescription drug benefits under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Photo: Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

On Tuesday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Director of the Domestic Policy Council of the United States Neera Tanden, and Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Chiquita Brooks-LaSure held a roundtable at the White House with pharmacy chain and association leaders.

The purpose: to discuss how pharmacies can work together with the Biden Administration to educate consumers about the new Medicare prescription drug benefits under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Becerra, Tanden and Brooks-LaSure opened the event by thanking pharmacy leaders who are working to familiarize their customers with the Inflation Reduction Act – President Biden's lower-cost prescription drug law. The participants discussed ways to maximize and share resources to ensure that people who benefit from the law are aware of how it can help lower their prescription drug costs.

In particular, the group discussed the Extra Help program, which assists low-income seniors and people with disabilities with the cost of premiums and prescription medications. Up to three million Americans have the potential to benefit from the Extra Help program but have not yet enrolled, according to HHS.


In advance of the meeting, the three department heads sent a letter to national pharmacies and pharmacy associations encouraging them to play a larger role in educating their customers and communities about the new prescription drug benefits made available by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Specifically, the letter encouraged pharmacies to promote these benefits by including educational material in pharmacy locations and on websites and social media accounts; partnering with community organizations; engaging in public education campaigns; identifying customers who may benefit; and training staff to address questions about the new law, among other actions.

Additionally, the letter calls on pharmacies and pharmacy associates to assist in communicating to Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program enrollees that they should update their contact information with their state Medicaid and CHIP agency and respond to the Medicaid/CHIP renewal form when they receive it as the nation undergoes the Medicaid coverage renewal process.

The group discussed how to educate consumers about the new Medicare prescription drug benefits and how pharmacies can direct people to help with filling out their forms during Medicaid coverage renewal process.

Leaders from a number of organizations participated in the roundtable, including CVS Health, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, the American Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.


The administration has taken a number of steps calculated to lower healthcare costs for consumers. Medicare enrollees are receiving free recommended vaccinations and paying no more than $35 for a month's supply for each covered insulin product as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, said HHS.

In a July report, HHS' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) estimated the law's changes to the Medicare Part D program may reduce out-of-pocket spending by nearly $400 for more than 18.7 million enrollees when the provisions are implemented in 2025, or about one in three people with Medicare Part D. 

Among this population, the report finds nearly 1.9 million enrollees are projected to save at least $1,000 in 2025.

Twitter: @JELagasse
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