Innovate or stagnate into irrelevance. That’s the message chain pharmacy leaders had for their colleagues at last week’s National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ 2012 Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.
In practical everyday terms, does it matter to the community or health system pharmacist that the Food and Drug Administration is forging ties with other agencies worldwide and becoming more international in its outlook and focus? You bet.
Earth Day is April 22. So it's as good a time as any to look at one aspect of community pharmacy that gets far less attention than such issues as managed care reimbursements or medication therapy management, but nonetheless is a key service provided by some pharmacists and a benefit to communities and the environment.
How do you squeeze water from a stone? That seems to be the goal of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in its long quest to cut prescription reimbursements for Medicaid patients by setting new, tighter payment caps for the community pharmacies that dispense those medicines.
“Straight over the cliff.” That may be the destination for many independent pharmacies now that the Federal Trade Commission has unconditionally approved the controversial merger of the nation’s second- and third-largest pharmacy benefit managers, a top pharmacy leader warned.
The fourth annual National Association of Chain Drug Stores RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill wrapped up March 22 on a high note. With pharmacists and pharmacy students from around the country able to secure more than 350 meetings with members of the U.S. House and Senate and their staffs last week, most lawmakers who serve on congressional committees with jurisdiction on healthcare issues got to hear pharmacy’s position on prescription reimbursements, fair payment for pharmacy services and the proposed merger of pharmacy benefit management giants Express Scripts and Medco.
Powerful pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions has just unveiled the results of a large-scale study that points out the critical role that pharmacist interventions play in the health and safety of women.
What factor, above all others, made you choose a career as a pharmacist? Whatever the reason, if you’re enrolled in pharmacy school or are recently graduated, congratulations. You picked a good time to become a pharmacist.
Are pharmacists the weak link in the drug diversion chain? That’s what the pharmacy benefit management lobby seems to imply in a new and controversial ad campaign that questions whether community pharmacists are doing all they should to halt the illegal flow of narcotics from the legitimate pharmaceutical supply chain to the dealer on the street.
About $290 billion a year. That’s what Americans’ rampant nonadherence to their prescription medication therapy is costing the country each year in medical bills and lost work, according to national estimates. So getting patients to stick with their drug regimens is a huge challenge, not only for pharmacists in all practice settings, but for the entire healthcare provider network and the U.S. economy.
Message to Congress: You’ve got to spend a little money to save a lot of it. Paying $100 million to the nation’s community pharmacists to provide comprehensive medication therapy management to more American seniors would save Medicare $1 billion or more. Spend $200 million and save $2 billion ... you get the picture.
Will the merger of Express Scripts and Medco go through? Not if pharmacy lobbyists can stop it. There’s nothing new about the fact that different industry groups connected with retail pharmacy or health care can hold strongly opposing views about what’s good or profitable for their own members. But for undisguised hostility and tit-for-tat charges and countercharges, nothing comes close to the long-running feud between independent pharmacy and the pharmacy benefits management industry.