The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, the professional society for pharmacists who work in managed care organizations, figures that it needs to come armed to the debate over how drug prices are calculated.

AMCP Executive Director Judith Cahill says that the "average wholesale price" system (known as AWP, it's often referred to as "ain't what's paid") that traditionally has been used to calculate payment for pharmaceutical products didn't measure up.

The methodologies created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 also have deficiencies, says Cahill. "Both pieces of legislation tweak critical payment mechanisms, without thoroughly analyzing potential ramifications for a variety of stakeholders."

With Congress looking at other possible methodologies, the AMCP says it needed to examine the issues surrounding the debate and created a 10-member Task Force on Drug Payment Methodologies to examine those systems.

It will assist "in the education of academy membership, leadership and staff on alternative drug product payment methodologies, including their implications for stakeholders in the pharmaceutical marketplace," Cahill wrote in an editorial in the October issue of AMCP News.

AMCP has hired a contractor to help analyze current payment methodologies, describing how they came about, the rationale for them, and potential effect on total drug spending.

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