PHARMACY

CVS/pharmacy encourages dialogue between seniors, caregivers about Medicare Part D plans

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. With the holiday season just around the corner, CVS/pharmacy is encouraging older adults and their caregivers to make family health part of the conversation during family gatherings.

With annual enrollment for Medicare Part D under way through Dec. 31, now is the ideal time for seniors and their caregivers to review their medication regimen and identify ways to save on annual medication costs, the company stated.

"There are important decisions to be made during Medicare Part D enrollment that can affect one’s healthcare costs in the coming year," stated Mitch Betses, VP retail pharmacy operations for CVS/pharmacy. "Caregivers can play a big role in helping their loved ones make the right choices, and CVS/pharmacy has the tools to help simplify the process."

A Medicare Part D plan review is encouraged annually as plans and medications change from year to year. But with the passing of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, there are even more notable changes to consider this year.

Starting Jan. 1, 2011, drug manufacturers will provide a 50% discount on brand-name drugs, and the government will provide a 7% discount on generic drugs for those who fall into the Part D prescription drug coverage gap.

This is in addition to the $250 rebate, effective in 2010, for beneficiaries who reach the Part D prescription drug coverage gap.

To help seniors navigate Medicare Part D plan options and find the lowest cost plan that meets their needs, CVS/pharmacy is offering both in-store and online resources.

CVS pharmacists are available throughout the open enrollment period to provide patients a list of their current medications and offer plan comparisons using the Medicare plan finder tool. In addition, seniors can access the 2011 Medicare Plan Finder at CVS.com/medicare to compare plans.

The site also lists information and answers to questions about Medicare Part D plans.

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Takeda launches GetToKnowGERD.com

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Drug maker Takeda Pharmaceuticals is launching a campaign to raise awareness of gastroesophageal reflux disease, the company said Tuesday.

 

Takeda created the website GetToKnowGERD.com to coincide with GERD Awareness Week, which takes place from Nov. 21 to 27. The company also is using the occasion to promote the GERD drug Dexilant (dexlansoprazole).

 

 

GERD is an often chronic condition characterized by frequent heartburn that affects nearly 19 million Americans, but according to an Omnibus telephone poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in October, around 80% of people are not aware of how common it is.

 

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Labopharm reviewing notification of Actavis’ approval application for generic Oletpro

BY Alaric DeArment

LAVAL, Quebec — Generic drug maker Actavis has filed for approval of a generic version of an antidepressant made by Canada’s Labopharm, Labopharm said.

 

The drug maker said it received a notification stating that Actavis had applied to the Food and Drug Administration for approval of a generic version of Oletpro (trazodone hydrochloride) extended-release tablets in the 150-mg and 300-mg strengths.

 

 

Actavis’ application contained a Paragraph IV certification, a legal challenge to a Labopharm patent covering the drug, which expires in June 2020. The market exclusivity period, which prevents the FDA from approving Actavis’ version, expires in February 2013.

 

 

Labopharm said it was reviewing the letter to determine what steps to take, though under the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, it is allowed to file a lawsuit against Actavis to prevent the latter from marketing its generic version of the drug.

 

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