PHARMACY

NACDS applauds Commission’s recognition of pharmacy access, choice for TRICARE patients

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

ARLINGTON, Va. — Leading up to a Senate hearing examining recommendations from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores expressed support for the commission’s recognition of preserving pharmacy access and choice for TRICARE patients.  NACDS also reiterated concern with a budget proposal that would compromise that access and choice.
 
NACDS submitted a statement to the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee for its hearing Wednesday titled “Healthcare Recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.”
 
“We are pleased that the commission recognizes that beneficiaries should be able to receive their prescriptions from whichever location they prefer, whether it be the local neighborhood pharmacy, a mail order facility, or a military treatment facility,” NACDS said in its statement.  “Moreover, we applaud the commission for specifically recommending that the TRICARE pharmacy benefit should integrate pharmaceutical treatment with healthcare and to implement robust [medication therapy management] MTM.”  

Established by the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the Commission developed recommendations to ensure the long-term viability of the all-volunteer armed forces; to foster recruitment, retention and careers in the armed forces; and to modernize and achieve fiscal sustainability for the armed forces’ compensation and retirement systems. The Commission submitted its report on Jan. 29.
 
Citing immunizations and disease screenings, as well as personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive care services, “local pharmacists are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow—in partnership with doctors, nurses, and others,” NACDS said in its statement.
 
In addition to helping improve patient outcomes, NACDS emphasized that pharmacy services help reduce overall healthcare costs.
 
Recognizing the cost effectiveness of pharmacist-provided vaccinations, the Department of Defense authorizes TRICARE beneficiaries to obtain vaccinations at a retail network pharmacy for a $0 co-payment. In its final rule expanding the authority of retail pharmacies to provide vaccinations, DoD estimated that in the first six months of the immunization program, it had saved more than $1.8 million by having vaccinations provided through the pharmacy rather than the medical benefit.   

In addition, NACDS cited mounting evidence of the benefits of MTM services in increasing medication adherence, enhancing communication and collaboration among providers and patients, optimizing medication use, and reducing overall healthcare costs.  
 
“Considering the convenience and value that local retail pharmacies provide, we question the wisdom of policies that seek to drive TRICARE beneficiaries away from the benefit of their local, trusted pharmacists and unnecessarily complicate the delivery of care,” NACDS stated.    
NACDS also reiterated concern with a proposal in the President’s budget that would increase pharmacy co-payments, further driving TRICARE beneficiaries out of their local pharmacies.  

“In addition to unfairly penalizing TRICARE beneficiaries who prefer to use local pharmacies, NACDS believes that although this proposal may seem penny-wise, it is ultimately pound-foolish,” NACDS stated.  “Threatening beneficiary access to prescription medications and their preferred healthcare provider will only increase the use of more costly medical interventions, such as physician and emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”

“NACDS and the chain pharmacy industry are committed to partnering with Congress, the Department of Defense (DoD), and other healthcare providers to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare services,” NACDS said in its statement.
 

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PHARMACY

Diplomat Pharmacy to dispense new multiple myeloma treatment

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 
 
FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy announced Wednesday that the recently approved Farydak (panobinostat) (for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma) will be available through Diplomat.
 
"Farydak offers a focused treatment to patients who have tried other therapies," stated Gary Kadlec, president of Diplomat. "We are excited to offer it to patients who need further support, to offer another line of defense and a new line of hope. We care deeply about our patients, and we're ready with our high-touch model to support them."
 
"Farydak represents an exciting agent with a new mechanism of action that is part of a promising class of drugs in this setting,” said Paul Richardson, Clinical Program Leader and Director of Clinical Research, Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “Importantly, Farydak has been shown to improve progression-free survival in relapsed multiple myeloma patients who have received at least two prior regimens, including bortezomib and an IMiD, which is an area of particular unmet medical need.”
 
The drug is now a treatment option for patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior regimens, including bortezomib and an immunomodulatory agent. Farydak is indicated for use with bortezomib and dexamethasone.
 
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow, producing abnormal proteins. According to the National Cancer Institute, each year about 21,700 Americans are diagnosed with multiple myeloma and 10,710 die from the disease. Farydak works by inhibiting the activity of specific enzymes known as histone deacetylases. This mechanism may slow the over-development of plasma cells in multiple myeloma patients or cause these dangerous cells to die.
 
 
 

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NCHS reports opioid analgesic use

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — From 2002 to 2012, the percentage of opioid analgesic users who used an opioid analgesic stronger than morphine increased from 17% to 37%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics reported Wednesday
 
Use of opioid analgesics varied significantly among population subgroups. Older adults (ages 40 to 59 years old and 60 years and over) were more likely to use opioid analgesics than adults aged 20 to 39 years. Women were more likely to use opioid analgesics than men, and non-Hispanic white adults were more likely to use opioid analgesics than Hispanic adults. There was no significant difference in the use of opioid analgesics between non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black adults. Women age 60 years and older were more likely to use opioid analgesics than men age 60 years and older.
 
The percentage of adults aged 20 and over who used a prescription opioid analgesic in the past 30 days significantly increased from 5% in 1999–2002 to 6.9% in 2003–2006, and then remained stable through 2011–2012 (6.9%). Together with findings from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988–1994), these findings indicate that the use of opioid analgesics among U.S. adults has more than doubled since 1988–1994, when 3.4% used opioid analgesics.
 
Among adults who used opioids during 1999–2012, the percentage of adults who used only a weaker-than-morphine opioid analgesic declined from 42.4% to 20%.
 

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