PHARMACY

Diplomat Pharmacy recognized by Michigan governor during State of the State address

BY Michael Johnsen

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat on Thursday was lauded for its civic efforts and proclaimed “a fabulous company” by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in the governor’s annual State of the State address delivered last night from the state capital in Lansing.

Gov. Snyder recognized Diplomat for its ongoing partnership with St. Luke North End Women’s Life Enterprises, a scrub uniform and accessories business started in Flint in 2008 by two Roman Catholic nuns, Sr. Carol Weber and Sr. Judy Blake. Both women, who were in the audience, were commended by the Governor during his address for their entrepreneurial success.                                        

Through the partnership with Diplomat, N.E.W. Life was introduced to the state’s economic team and is now part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Community Ventures program. Community Ventures was heralded by Gov. Snyder as providing meaningful job opportunities for the structurally unemployed; the government program also aims to improve public safety and grow the economy in the state’s most challenged urban centers.  

N.E.W. Life Enterprises was formed by St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center, a faith-based program that incorporates education and workplace training to help women become self-sufficient providers for their families. In addition to general life skills, women receive workplace training in several areas, including learning to sew. At the conclusion of the program, women may apply for a job as a seamstress at N.E.W. Life Enterprises, which makes I.D. lanyards and cell phone covers in addition to its core business of scrub tops and bottoms, hospital gowns and adult garment protectors. N.E.W. Life currently has 26 employees, with a targeted goal of 100 employees by fourth quarter 2014 with the assistance of the MEDC. 

Acknowledging Gov. Snyder’s remarks about Diplomat, company CEO Phil Hagerman noted Diplomat’s director of community relations and government affairs Steve Wolbert was instrumental in bringing N.E.W. Life Enterprises to the attention of Diplomat and other collaborative Flint corporate partners. 

“In the summer of 2012, Diplomat formalized its community outreach efforts and hired Steve Wolbert to serve as a liaison between Diplomat and Flint’s civic and business leaders,” Hagerman said. “Steve enthusiastically embraced the position, seeking out and developing community programs that have a measurable impact on the economy and quality of life here. He not only serves as an outstanding ambassador for Diplomat, Steve exemplifies the Diplomat motto to be a force for good as he brings people together to further programs like N.E.W. Life that create jobs and hope for a rebirth in our region.”   

 

 

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NCPA: Preferred pharmacy networks don’t necessarily net prescription savings

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Medicare Part D program and taxpayers often pay more when prescription drugs are obtained through "preferred" pharmacies and mail order than they would if the same prescriptions were filled through other, "non-preferred" pharmacies, according to a cost comparison made by the National Community Pharmacists Association released Thursday using the Medicare Plan Finder website. The findings come shortly after recently proposed requirements that officials with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services suggested for Medicare prescription drug plans in 2015.

"This analysis suggests that neither preferred pharmacies nor mail order are the bargains for Medicare that their proponents claim," NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey, said. "We commend CMS for its recent, enhanced scrutiny of both preferred pharmacy plans and mail order. We encourage the agency to follow through on its proposed changes, which should produce greater choice and pharmacy competition for beneficiaries in 2015."

NCPA staff chose one commonly purchased PDP, the AARP Medicare Rx Preferred drug plan, and entered into Plan Finder four of the most-prescribed drugs: generic version of Lipitor—atorvastatin calcium Tab 20mg 90-day supply; generic version of Plavix—clopidogrel Tab 75mg 90-day supply; diovan—Tab 80mg 90-day supply; and Nexium—Cap 40mg 90-day supply. The costs were compared between preferred, mail order and non-preferred pharmacies in nine cities across the country.

According to the NCPA analysis, 89% of the time, preferred pharmacy costs to Medicare were higher than those of non-preferred pharmacies. Mail order costs to Medicare exceeded those of non-preferred pharmacies 100% of the time.

"Independent community pharmacies are often excluded from a plan’s list of ‘preferred pharmacies’ and thereby denied the ability to offer patients the lowest, advertised co-pay," Hoey noted. "Community pharmacy owners have contacted plans and offered to accept the same contract terms and conditions, including reimbursement, as preferred pharmacies, but are routinely rebuffed or ignored. This situation creates problems for patients because independent community pharmacies are frequently located in rural and other underserved areas, from which the closest preferred pharmacy may be 20 miles or further away.

That problem may be exasperated in the near term by how popular preferred pharmacy plans are becoming for enrollees. According to a recent Drug Channels analysis, 60 of 2014’s 106 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans have a preferred pharmacy network design, and 75% of seniors have enrolled in one of these 60 plans. 

 

 

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Report: NYC’s Avignone Chemists sells Rx files to CVS/pharmacy

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Avignone Chemists, which is located in New York City’s West Village neighborhood, has sold its pharmacy business to CVS/pharmacy, according to a local news report.

While the patient files have been transferred to a CVS/pharmacy just a few blocks away at Washington Place and Sixth Avenue, according to an article by DNAinfo.com, the store will continue to sell front-end merchandise, including higher-end beauty.

As evidenced by such merchants as C.O. Bigelow and Caswell-Massey, higher-end, beauty-centric apothecary style independents continue to thrive.

 

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