PHARMACY

Administration attempts to restrict states’ authority over Medicaid and SCHIP

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Bush administration is imposing eligibility restrictions similar to the ones it imposed on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to Medicaid, the New York Times reported.

The administration placed the eligibility on the SCHIP program in August in an attempt “to direct scarce tax dollars to those with the greatest needs,” according to Tony Fratto, a spokesman for President Bush. The federal government has leverage over the states because, it pays a large share of the costs for both Medicaid and SCHIP.

The child health program complements Medicaid. Income limits vary from state to state and tend to cluster from 133 percent to 185 percent of the poverty level for Medicaid, with states allowed to go 50 percentage points higher for the child health program.

State officials in Louisiana, Ohio and Oklahoma said they had discovered the administration’s intent in negotiations with the federal government over the last few weeks. Each state was trying to increase the amount of people who would be covered for Medicaid, and was told by the government that they were going too far in terms of eligibility and that too many children who were not in the desired poverty level would be eligible, thus taking money away from children more deserving.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Depomed’s 1,000 mg Glumetza

BY Drew Buono

MENLO PARK, Calif. Depomed has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a 1,000 mg strength of Glumetza tablets. Glumetza is used as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adult patients with Type 2 diabetes.

“This approval is good news for patients with Type 2 diabetes who are on metformin therapy and prefer to take fewer tablets per day,” stated Carl Pelzel, president and chief executive officer of Depomed. “The American Diabetes Association guidelines recommend that metformin therapy be titrated to its maximally effective dose, generally regarded as 2,000 mg/day as tolerated. We believe this 1,000 mg dosage form is a great addition to the Glumetza franchise, as we now have two ways for patients to achieve 24-hour glycemic control: the original Glumetza 500 mg tablets, which start out as small, easy-to-swallow tablets that expand once in the stomach, and the new 1,000 mg tablets, which require fewer tablets to hit the target dose. We are working very closely with our commercial supplier, Biovail, to make these tablets commercially available in the United States in the near future.”

Depomed acquired exclusive U.S. rights to the 1,000 mg formulation of Glumetza in December 2005 from Biovail, and has a supply agreement with Biovail related to the formulation. Glumetza had sales of $3.8 million in the third quarter of 2007.

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Ivans launches LIME Medicare Internet solution

BY Drew Buono

STAMFORD, Conn. Ivans, a technology company that provides Medicare connectivity solutions and services has unveiled its new product, an Internet solution for healthcare providers that processes Medicare transactions, called LIME.

The goal of the program will be to save providers time and money through its elimination of manual searches and by streamlining the claims process so claims are paid faster and more accurately. The program is approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Using LIME, providers are able to process Medicare claims 10 times faster than dial-up modems. Providers indicated that while it used to take one hour to process three claims, by using the new program 30 claims can be processed during that same time period. Because this is a multi-user solution that can be used for other Medicare transactions such as eligibility and claims remittance, the time and money saved in a one-year period is equivalent to three staff members working full-time.

Currently, more than 100,000 part A and part B healthcare providers are supported by Ivans solutions.

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