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Actavis extends agreement to market, distribute generic Concerta

BY Ryan Chavis

DUBLIN — Actavis has reached an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals to continue supplying the authorized generic version of Janssen’s Concerta (methylphenidate hydrochloride extended-release tablets), the company announced.

Under the terms of the agreement, Janssen Pharmaceuticals will continue to manufacture and supply Actavis with all dosage strengths of the generic drug, and Actavis will continue to market and distribute the drug in the United States. This agreement runs until Dec. 31, 2017.

Concerta is indicated for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivty disorder in children ages 6 years to 17 years and in adults ages 18 years to 65 years, as part of a total treatment program. The drug had U.S. brand and generic sales of $1.4 billion for the 12 months ended Feb. 28, according to IMS Health.

 

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Hefty announces new odor-control trash bag

BY Ryan Chavis

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Reynolds Consumer Products announced the launch of new Hefty Extra Strong large black trash bags, complete with White Pine odor-block technology. The product marks the brand’s first odor-control, scented, large black trash bag and the only pine-scented bag on the market, according to the company.

Hefty has a long history in the field of odor-control technology, as the brand offers consumers tall kitchen bags in such scents as Clean Citrus, Lavender Vanilla, Clean Apple, Hawaiian Island and Clean Breeze. The new White Pine scent leads the way in expansion to large black trash bags.

 

“Consumers are looking for effective, odor-controlling trash bags with fragrances that enhance their homes. Our pine scent was created to meet that need,” said Jeff Wilkison, VP marketing, Hefty Brand Products.

Hefty Extra Strong trash bags with White Pine odor-block technology are available in 30-gallon multi-purpose size and carry a suggested retail price of $8.49 for a 28-count package.

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Report: Health Exchange patients may end up spending more on Rx medicines than employer plans

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — A new report by Milliman released Thursday found that Silver plans with combined deductibles offered through the Health Insurance Exchanges may require patients to pay more than twice as much out of pocket for prescription medicines overall as they would under a typical employer plan. This is a far larger increase in out-of-pocket costs than was found for other medical care, noted the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which commissioned the study

With combined deductible plans, patients are responsible for 100% of their non-preventive medical and pharmacy costs before meeting the deductible. The findings reveal that the large combined deductibles for all medical spending that are common in Silver plans in Exchanges may disproportionately impact out-of-pocket costs for patients relying on prescription medicines. The report looks at Silver plans because they were the most popular in the enrollment period that ended March 31. 

“Americans participating in the Exchanges were promised coverage comparable to employer plans, and yet the reality is that many new plans are failing to provide an appropriate level of access to quality, affordable health care,” said John Castellani, president and CEO of PhRMA. “Patients face hurdles in accessing the medicines they need to manage their conditions, which is particularly problematic for Americans trying to control their chronic diseases.”

The Milliman report also noted that Silver plans are nearly four times more likely to have a single combined deductible for medical and pharmacy benefits (46% of the time) compared to typical employer-sponsored plans (12% of the time). This is an important distinction, particularly for patients with chronic illnesses, as it means prescription medicines are not covered until patients meet the deductible. According to Milliman’s analysis, the typical deductible for Silver plans is $2,000, PhRMA reported. Previous research from Avalere Health found that in the lower-cost Bronze plans, deductibles are even higher, averaging more than $4,000.

Further, the report concludes that Silver plans with combined deductibles impose 130% higher cost sharing for prescription medicine than typical employer-sponsored plans, compared to about a 20% increase for other healthcare services for members without subsidies who previously had typical employer coverage.

Studies have found that higher out-of-pocket costs reduce patients’ likelihood of taking prescription medicines to manage chronic conditions. The result is an increase in hospitalizations and higher healthcare costs overall. Conversely, programs that encourage better adherence have the potential to reduce emergency department visits, hospitalizations and other preventable, costly care. In fact, according to a 2012 Health Affairs study, improved medication adherence for patients with diabetes has the potential to save $8.3 billion each year.

“Medicines are one of the most significant contributors to improved quality and length of life for people with serious diseases, such as chronic illnesses, cancer and HIV/AIDS,” Castellani said. “To improve health and, in turn, control healthcare costs, we must continue to work toward a healthcare system that improves access and adherence to medicines.”

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david2775 says:
Jul-30-2014 02:28 pm

New group prescription drug card is saving Americans up to 90% on their prescriptions. Anyone can now enroll in this program for only $7.95 per month and get the same type of savings as someone who has a group rx card in their employee benefit package...

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