Generic drug trade group praises Obama budget, expresses reservations
WASHINGTON — Generic makers heralded the fiscal year 2014 budget proposed last week by the Obama administration for its embrace of generic drugs, but were critical of its provisions on patent settlements and rebates.
The Generic Pharmaceutical Association, a trade group for the generic drug industry, noted that the budget would encourage increased use of generic drugs and savings from biosimilars, while also proposing prohibiting state-level "carve-out" laws that limit dispensing of generics and increasing Medicaid payments to states that use the cheapest drugs available.
At the same time, the group expressed opposition to the budget’s ban on patent settlements between generic and branded drug companies that critics label "pay-for-delay" and allege to cause generic drugs to enter the market later than they otherwise would. But the GPhA said the deals, which involve an agreement in which a generic drug company holds off launching its product in exchange for either a payment from the branded drug company or a promise no to launch the branded drug at a discount as an "authorized generic" in order to compete with the Food and Drug Administration-approved generic, result in drugs getting to consumers months or years ahead of patent expiry anyway, and that the Federal Trade Commission’s long-standing opposition to the settlements stems from a 2002 study that the GPhA called "outdated" and "faulty."
The group also opposed increases or extensions of Medicaid rebates beyond what drug makers currently pay, holding up Medicare Part D as an example of cost efficiency and calling for replicating the latter’s market-based competition. Such changes to the rebate structure, the GPhA said, would "likely have the unintended consequence of shifting costs onto American consumers purchasing their care in the private marketplace."
N.D. governor signs PBM bill into law
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The governor of North Dakota has signed into law a bill that would require pharmacy benefit managers to inform pharmacies about how reimbursement for generic prescription drugs is calculated under maximum allowable cost benchmarks and provide a more detailed appeals process to pharmacies to contest the MAC reimbursement caps that PBMs set up.
The bill, H.B. 1363, received unanimous support in both houses of the state’s legislature, and Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed it into law Monday.
The bill received praise from a trade group that represents independent retail pharmacies. North Dakota has more than 200 independent pharmacies, according to the trade group, the National Community Pharmacists Association.
"This legislation will help give pharmacists a greater window into a secretive reimbursement process and give pharmacies avenues for redress such as when payments aren’t updated when drug costs rise," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said.
Navarro Discount Pharmacy celebrates opening of 33rd store
MIAMI — Navarro Discount Pharmacy has opened its 33rd store in Miami, which targets Hispanics from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
“Navarro spent more than $1 million on the new location including $500,000 on construction and an additional $500,000 on merchandise, fixtures and equipment,” stated Dania Farinas-Muñoz, the store manager.
The 10,000-square-foot store layout features new colors and enhanced signage in English and Spanish, a fragrance section with added light boxes, a cell phone, OTC and photo department, a new pastelito cafeteria, and more products in the refrigerated and freezer food and dairy section.
Navarro’s unique Pharmacy services for customers include a pediatric window for busy parents, compounding pharmacy services, a free diabetes club for adults and children with diabetes, a Mommy and Me Club, and free prescription delivery for all customers. During the month of April, new customers transferring four or more prescriptions will receive a $100 Navarro store credit used over a three-month period.
The new store will target Hispanics from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba with such specific products as hair care products, beer, nectar drinks, and more. Navarro’s signature products for Hispanics also available in the store include Café La Llave Expresso coffee and Fabuloso multi-purpose cleaner plus popular brands such as Valentini, El Sembrador and La Fe. Navarro’s new Vida Mia private label brand products in English and Spanish, are also available throughout the store in a variety of categories including baby, beauty, food, household, health and OTC featuring more than 1,000 SKUs.
The first 150 customers received a free Navarro reusable bag filled with products, along with free product samplings throughout the day. Free blood pressure and glucose screenings were administered by Palm Plaza Medical Centers on opening day, and concluded with raffles and a mini wine festival.