PHARMACY

Bill to incentivize generic use in Medicaid introduced in Congress

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A bill proposed in Congress would give states incentives for using generic drugs through the Medicaid program.

The Affordable Medicines Utilization Act, proposed by Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., is similar to a bill with the same title introduced in the Senate in July that would encourage states to increase generic drug use by Medicaid patients by letting the states keep part of the difference the federal government receives between the cost of the generic drug and the cost of the branded drug. That bill remains in the early stages of the legislative process, according to GovTrack, a website that tracks the development of legislation.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores heralded the legislation.

"The majority of Medicaid prescriptions — 70% — are filled by chain pharmacies," the organization wrote in a letter to Rep. Bass. "Local pharmacies across the country work with state Medicaid programs to promote best practices, and help to implement policies that promote the use of generic medications. Increasing generic utilization is the most effective way to control prescription drug costs."

The legislation also drew praise from the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.

"This legislation is exactly the kind of common-sense solution those in Washington should look to when searching for ways to rein in our country’s health care spending,” GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "Greater use of generic medications is a safe and effective way to reduce costs while providing patients with the quality care they need."


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PHARMACY

Meijer looks to turn pharmacists into go-to diabetes resources

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer has launched a chainwide effort to position its pharmacy staff as diabetes specialists.

The announcement was made by Effie Steele, the chain’s clinical services manager.

"A community pharmacist is an important first line of defense for diabetes and other diseases," Steele said. "So it was imperative that we placed more trained experts within our pharmacies for the benefit of our customers. Diabetes is a disease that has hit the Midwest hard, and there truly is an urgent need to take a much more active and aggressive role in combating it."

To aid the launch of the initiative, all 197 Meijer pharmacies will host a diabetes care event this Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The event will include free blood -glucose testing, as well as a free pharmacy patient education and sample kit. Meijer diabetes care pharmacists also will be on hand to assist with questions and explain Meijer’s free metformin prescription program.


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Novo Nordisk donates $50,000 to Diabetes Hands Foundation

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. — Novo Nordisk has donated $50,000 to an organization that raises awareness about diabetes and connects people living with it, the Danish drug maker said.

The company said the donation, to the Diabetes Hands Foundation, was meant to recognize the Drive the Switch program, which it said had motivated more than 10,000 people to pledge to talk to loved ones and their doctors about insulin options.

"Many people with diabetes don’t realize that they have options when it comes to their diabetes management," DHF president Manny Hernandez said. "This campaign has done a great job of encouraging patients and their caregivers to have that dialogue with their healthcare professional and determine the best treatment option for them."


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