Monday, September 26, 2016

Unintended Consequences – AMP and 5i

It had humble beginnings. In 1991, Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA 90), setting up the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program (MDRP). The goal was to enlist the aid of pharmaceutical manufacturers in lowering the cost of pharmaceuticals prescribed to Medicaid patients, and financed by the Federal and state governments. Access to manufacturers’ “best price” was the goal, to help balance the Federal budget. The metric used to measure the best price differential was Average Manufacturer Price, or AMP.

AMP was defined in the statute as the average price paid to the manufacturer for the drug in the United States by wholesalers for drugs distributed to the retail class of trade. The calculation methodology worked reasonably well for the first fourteen years, without the benefit of regulations from CMS. CMS did provide some guidance through manufacturer notices, dealing with the classes of trade to be included in the retail class, and identifying the credits that could be applied to correctly compute this metric.

All that changed in 2007. In July, CMS released a final rule implementing the price reporting provisions of the Deficit Reporting Act (DRA) of 2005. The DRA modified the customer classes, and discounts, that could be included in AMP calculations. Not a huge deal. However, the DRA burdened the AMP with a new task; it was to become the basis for the Federal Upper Limit (FUL).

Consequences of AMP Final Rule and 5i on drug pricing
FULs are used to determine reimbursement values for generic drugs dispensed in the Medicaid program. Prior to this, FULs had always used Average Wholesaler Price (AWP) as the metric for paying pharmacies. CMS was concerned, for valid reasons, that AWP did not reflect marketplace reality, and that CMS was funding these transactions based upon some “suggested retail” pricing at the government’s expense.

The reaction in the retail industry was immediate. On December 19th, 2007, the U.S. District Court in Washington issued a preliminary injunction order to prevent the implementation of the new AMP rules and the AMP-based FUL, in response to a lawsuit filed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). NACDS claimed the drug stores were likely to suffer irreparable harm if these rules were implemented.

ACA Proposed Rule…”Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) means, with respect to a covered outpatient drug of a manufacturer (including those sold under an NDA approved under section 505(c) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA)), the average price paid to the manufacturer for the drug in the United States by wholesalers for drugs distributed to retail community pharmacies and retail community pharmacies that purchase drugs directly from the manufacturer.” This rule was finalized this year intact, and solidified the concept of RCP.

Narrowly defining the marketplace class of drugs led to an obvious question…what happens to the drugs that rarely or never go through an RCP? Are they subject to the same calculation parameters? To resolve this dilemma, CMS had defined drugs that are “injected, infused, inhaled, instilled, or implanted.”

These are the new “5i” drugs, with their own AMP calculation methodologies, including which discounts are included, and how the entity classification is to be determined, all on a monthly basis. It raises several concerns, such as sharing the same Base AMP with “standard” AMP, determining the true split between pharmacy types when RCPs dispense 5i drugs, and the ability to make this determination monthly.
The beat goes on.

About the author:

John Bliss is a contributing writer for the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program Summit. He has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including AstraZeneca, Sanofi Aventis, Merck, Pfizer, Daiichi Sankyo, and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). The bulk of John’s career was at BMS. When OBRA90 hit, Government Pricing took over his life. Government pricing, managed care contracting, rebates, and chargebacks continue to extend challenges and provide meaningful employment. John now works as a consultant, primarily subcontracted by other consulting firms, providing value added services to each of them and their clients.

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