PHARMACY

Lupin Pharmaceuticals launches generic Diovan

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE — Following approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Lupin Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday launched its valsartan tablets USP in 40-, 80-, 160- and 320-mg dosage strengths. The drug is the generic version of Novartis's Diovan tablets.
 
Lupin's valsartan tablets is indicated for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure.
 
Diovan Tablets had annual U.S sales of  $2.1 billion according to IMS data for the 12 months ended September 2014.

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CVS Health comments on Gilead hepatitis drug deal

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health has confirmed that after a thorough evaluation of the existing and new hepatitis C therapies that are now available in the marketplace, Gilead Sciences’ Harvoni and Sovaldi drugs will be exclusive to CVS Health’s Standard Commercial, Exchange (Marketplace), Medicare Part D and Medicaid formularies, effective Jan. 7.

“Our goal was to create the lowest net-cost solution for the entire population of patients with all genotypes of hepatitis C. When making this decision, we evaluated a wide variety of factors including duration of therapy, relative distribution of genotype and cost of the individual agents in the category as well as the results of a comprehensive clinical review of the different hepatitis C regimens,” said CVS Health spokesperson Christine K. Cramer in a statement sent to Drug Store News. “We believe this strategy meets patient needs while delivering excellent value and clinical options to both clients and plan members.”

As noted in a New York Times article, the move partially offsets Express Scripts’ announcement in late December that AbbVie Viekira Pak will be the exclusive option for Genotype 1 hepatitis C patients covered by the Express Scripts National Preferred Formulary, and that, beginning Jan. 1, Sovaldi, Harvoni and Olysio (simeprevir) will be excluded from the National Preferred Formulary.

 

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Walgreens to provide medication assistance to newly insured under the ACA

BY Michael Johnsen

 

DEERFIELD, Ill. — As newly insured Americans begin using their 2015 benefits under the Affordable Care Act, Walgreens will again provide medication assistance to those patients who may have difficulty using their new insurance coverage. Through the end of January, patients who haven't yet received a plan identification number from their insurer or are otherwise having difficulty can bring confirmation of their Marketplace enrollment to a Walgreens pharmacy, and Walgreens will provide up to one month of a traditional, brand or generic medication at no upfront cost.
 
“We recognize that some newly enrolled individuals will need medications while their benefits information is being updated with their new insurer,” stated Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of pharmacy and retail operations. “Last year, we were able to help many new and existing patients get their prescriptions filled without interruption, and we’ll continue to provide assistance to support another influx of newly insured customers as we begin the New Year.”
 
Walgreens offered a similar assistance program for newly insured Americans last year.
 
To help achieve the smoothest possible transition for newly insured customers, Walgreens is reaching out to insurance companies’ operations groups to request nightly eligibility file updates on health insurance marketplace plan enrollees, helping ensure Walgreens pharmacy teams have the most up-to-date coverage information. Walgreens is also encouraging patients who enrolled through the public marketplace to confirm coverage with their insurance company and bring their benefits information to the pharmacy. With that plan information, Walgreens pharmacy staff can individually review patient benefits and work with the patient’s insurance company directly to confirm benefit eligibility.
 
To assist newly insured patients, Walgreens is working with United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the White House and will remain in frequent conversation to raise any common issues that may arise.
 

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