PHARMACY

IMS Health files with SEC for initial public offering

BY Alaric DeArment

DANBURY, Conn. — IMS Health is looking to go public, the healthcare industry research and analytics company said.

IMS, based in Danbury, Conn., said it had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock, adding that it had not yet determined the number of shares to be offered or the price range of the offering.

The company said it planned to use the net proceeds it received to repay a portion of its long-term debt, and that a registration statement related to the securities had been filed with the SEC, but had not yet become effective.

 

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Rite Aid dispenses prescriptions for health insurance exchange enrollees

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is providing prescriptions at no upfront cost to customers who have enrolled in the health insurance marketplaces, but have not received an ID number, the retail pharmacy chain said.

The company said that during the month of January, it would dispense a 15- to 30-day supply of many medications to customers who bring in confirmation of their enrollment until their prescription coverage details are available. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, took full effect Wednesday.

"Every pharmacist knows how important it is for people to take their medications as prescribed, without any interruption," Rite Aid EVP pharmacy Robert Thompson said. "Each year, Rite Aid pharmacy teams work with and help guide customers through first-of-the-year insurance plan changes, and that’s especially true this year, as we know that those newly enrolled may have questions or concerns about their prescription coverage."

 

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NCPA: Community pharmacy has historically helped patients as they transition to new health plans

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Following the announcement from several major chains on Thursday that their respective pharmacy operations would provide 30-day prescriptions to newly-enrolled health exchange patients at no charge while they wait for their prescription cards, the National Community Pharmacists Association on Friday announced that many of its constituents have historically adopted similar patient-friendly practices. 

“Helping patients sort through new or revised health insurance coverage is business-as-usual for independent community pharmacies year-round, and especially each January," said Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. "Now more than ever that is the case with the advent of these new health plans." he said. “While health plans are the payer of first resort for the newly insured, most independent community pharmacists will provide emergency medication supplies, when appropriate, to their patients confirmed with new insurance coverage through the marketplaces, so that these patients don’t fall through the cracks."

During the 2006 implementation of the Medicare Part D drug benefit, community pharmacists helped patients with emergency supplies thousands of times, Hoey noted. A 2006 survey of more than 500 independent community pharmacists found that more than half (58%) provided 50 or more emergency supplies to seniors during the early days of Part D. Another 21% reported doing so 21 to 50 times.

“Assisting patients as they navigate their health coverage is just one of the ways independent community pharmacies have garnered the highest satisfaction rates from customers in national surveys," Hoey said. "In particular, small business community pharmacies serve many rural areas in which the next closest pharmacy may be 20 miles away or more."

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