PHARMACY

House passes Defense Authorization bill; Tricare Prime fees to increase

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The House of Representatives last week passed the FY2012 Defense Authorization bill by a vote of 322 to 96. The bill includes a small increase in the Tricare Prime fee, the American Society of Military Comptrollers noted in a statement, but caps future increases at no more than the cost-of-living adjustment.

The bill does not include a freeze on co-payments for retail prescription drugs for Tricare patients, however, which had been a provision included in previous years. Without the freeze, the Department of Defense is free to move forward with its proposal to create further incentives to drive Tricare beneficiaries to use mail order.

“We certainly understand the need to reduce Tricare costs,” National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson and National Community Pharmacists Association EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey said in a joint statement. “Further penalizing Tricare patients who use their community pharmacy is not the most effective way to reduce prescription drug spending in the program.

The two retail pharmacy associations instead advocated increasing the generic drug dispensing rate, noting that the dispensing rate across community pharmacies typically is higher than that at a mail-order pharmacy.

The Senate will take up the bill this summer.

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Dificid gets nod as CDAD treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a treatment for diarrhea caused by a bacterial infection.

The agency announced the approval of Optimer Pharmaceuticals’ Dificid (fidaxomicin) tablets for the treatment of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, also known as CDAD.

Clostridium difficile can cause diarrhea and lead to colitis, as well as other serious intestinal diseases and, in severe cases, death. The bacteria are spread by people touching items or surfaces contaminated with the bacteria or spores and then touching their mouths.

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Mylan to re-brand Matrix subsidiary

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Generic drug maker Mylan plans to give one of its subsidiaries a new name, the company said.

Mylan announced that it would re-brand its Hyderabad, India-based subsidiary Matrix Labs as Mylan. Mylan acquired Matrix in 2007. Since then, the workforce of Matrix, originally founded in 2001, has grown from about 3,800 employees to more than 8,500. The company, founded in 2001, makes a wide variety of generic drugs, including generic antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS that have been distributed in developing countries under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

“Throughout the last four years, Matrix has played a unique and important role in Mylan’s transformation into the global and rapidly growing company we are today,” Mylan chairman and CEO Robert Coury said. “Not only has Matrix contributed to Mylan’s very strong growth through the success of its business, it has also made it possible for Mylan to integrate vertically and realize substantial ongoing operational efficiencies on a global basis.”

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