PHARMACY

Most savings from generics came from retailers during last decade, report finds

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The U.S. healthcare system saved $217 billion in 2012 thanks to the use of generic drugs, according to a new report by a generic drug industry trade group.

The report, compiled by IMS Health on behalf of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, found that since 2003, the healthcare system has saved $1.2 trillion. This year’s report was also the first to break out savings by payer type at the retail level, finding in 2012 alone, $171 billion in savings came from retail, while retail savings over the past decade were $931 billion, or 76% of the total. Total generic savings in 2011 were $188 billion, and the annual rate of increase in savings has been about 17% per year since 2007.

Meanwhile, out-of-pocket cash payers have saved $78 billion over the past decade, most of them uninsured and poor customers, and Medicaid beneficiaries who got prescriptions from retailers accounted for $96 billion in savings over the decade. Medicare Part D and other federal programs accounted for $301 billion, while seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D themselves since the program started in 2006 accounted for $180 billion.

"From policymakers to patients, any efforts to curtail health spending must capitalize on the savings from safe, affordable generic medicines," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "In a time when cutting costs is everyone’s priority, generics continue to put more treatments within reach for so many people. Embracing policy that encourages access to generic medicines goes hand-in-hand with savings."

In total, Americans spent about $325.8 billion on prescription drugs in 2012, according to the report, a figure that could reach as high as $450 billion by 2017 if enrollment in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges reaches capacity and if branded drug prices continue increasing above the inflation rate. "This level of spending would be unsustainable if not for the savings generated by the use of generic drugs," the report read.

More than half of the total savings come from new generics, defines as those introduced in the past 10 years, with $157 billion of the total for 2012, or 72%, coming from the newer generics, compared with $123 of the total in 2011, or 65%.

 

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PHARMACY

Mylan Specialty announces winners of anaphylaxis awareness campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Four school districts have won a competition sponsored by Mylan to raise awareness about dangerous allergic reactions, the company said Wednesday.

Mylan, whose Mylan Specialty division makes the EpiPen injector pen for severe allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis, announced the winners of the Raise Your Hand for Anaphylaxis Awareness competition, for which it hired actress Julie Bowen as a celebrity spokeswoman.

The winning school districts are the Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free School District, Cheektowaga, N.Y.; the Oxford Township School District, Oxford, N.Y.; the Utica Community Schools, Sterling Heights, Mich.; and the Ossining Union Free School District, Ossining, N.Y.

The competition called for local communities to educate others in the school environment to recognize a life-threatening allergic reaction and be prepared to respond if one occurs. It included more than 830 school districts in all 50 states, calling on students to virtually "raise hands" and express awareness of anaphylaxis. In total, the campaign received nearly 150,000 responses in four months.

Each of the winning school districts will be awarded a $15,000 educational grant, which they are encouraged to use to fund programs about life-threatening allergies, such as training staff, inviting speakers and implementing hand-washing stations throughout the school.

 

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PHARMACY

Good Neighbor Pharmacy joins EQuIPP platform

BY Michael Johnsen

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen on Wednesday announced a CMS Star measure improvement initiative for members of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy network, a group of more than 3,200 independent pharmacies across the nation.

“CMS has been evaluating health plans on Star measures for years. The shift in the healthcare industry to performance-based care has made a plan’s star rating a critical factor for the community pharmacy, especially since five of the performance measures, 48% of the total Part D star rating, are related to medication management,” stated AJ Caffentzis, SVP AmerisourceBergen. “AmerisourceBergen is committed to the success of community pharmacy and is proud to provide this critical educational initiative to our Good Neighbor Pharmacy members. This is the latest example of how AmerisourceBergen is shaping healthcare delivery.”

The CMS Star measure improvement initiative includes an agreement with Pharmacy Quality Solutions to bring EQuIPP to Good Neighbor Pharmacy members. EQuIPP (Electronic Quality Improvement Platform for Plans and Pharmacies) is a national platform for medication-related quality measurement, benchmarking and collaboration amongst health plans, prescription benefit managers and community pharmacies. EQuIPP aggregates data from multiple health plans and pharmacies to measure the quality of medication use, including non-adherence, and makes this measurement available to all participants. By serving as a neutral intermediary for quality measurement and benchmarking, EQuIPP enables pharmacies and health plans to focus on improving the quality and safety of medication use.

In addition, the improvement initiative includes a CMS Star measure educational series offered to members of Good Neighbor Pharmacy. The series, occurring in dozens of locations, imparts the latest knowledge from AmerisourceBergen experts on why Star measures are now important for community pharmacies and how pharmacies can improve their rating, passed through health plans. 

A national educational roadshow is also planned in partnership with Tripp Logan, a community practice pharmacist and owner of Logan & Seiler, in Charleston, Mo. Logan is also co-developer and co-owner of MedHere Today, a medication adherence and star rating consulting group. Logan is a member of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy network and is an expert on the CMS Star measure system’s impact on community pharmacy.

“We are excited to bring EQuIPP to the thousands of pharmacies in the Good Neighbor Pharmacy,” commented David Nau, president of Pharmacy Quality Solutions. “It is clear that the leadership of Good Neighbor Pharmacy is committed to helping their pharmacies track the quality of their patient-care services and continually strive to achieve the highest standards of pharmacy quality in the country.”

 

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