PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA urge doctors to enroll, update enrollment in Medicare PECOS

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two groups representing the nation’s pharmacies are urging doctors to enroll or update their records in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Medicare provider enrollment, chain and ownership system.

In a fax sent to more than 62,000 doctors’ offices, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association said that by enrolling or updating their enrollment in PECOS can guarantee Medicare beneficiaries will be able to receive diabetes testing supplies and other essential durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies from local pharmacies. According to CMS, there are 26,000 pending PECOS enrollment applications for physicians and a few thousand more for nonphysician providers.

“Community pharmacists support appropriate efforts to ensure that Medicare dollars are spent wisely, but beneficiaries’ access to local pharmacies for their legitimate healthcare needs must be protected,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson, and Douglas Hoey, NCPA acting EVP and CEO. “We commend CMS for striking the right balance by not implementing changes that would automatically reject claims based on orders, certifications, and referrals made by providers who have not had their applications approved by July 6. Community pharmacists report that as many as 30% of DMEPOS claims are being rejected. That’s a clear warning sign supporting CMS’ delay of the July 6 PECOS date. We urge all doctors to enroll or update their record in PECOS now to ensure their patients can continue to have uninterrupted access to essential medical products at their local pharmacies.”

Starting July 6, federal regulations require that providers who order or refer durable medical equipment and supplies be enrolled in PECOS for reimbursement claims to be processed, the groups said. On June 30, CMS announced that the agency will not implement automatic rejections of claims based on providers who have not had their PECOS enrollment approved by July 6.

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Watson seeks FDA approval for generic Renvela, confirms patent challenge

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Generic drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals hopes to be the first to market a version of a kidney disease treatment made by Genzyme, Watson said Monday.

Watson said it filed a regulatory approval application with the Food and Drug Administration for sevelamer carbonate for oral suspension. The drug is a generic version of Genzyme’s Renvela, used to control serum phosphorus in patients with chronic kidney disease who are on dialysis.

 

Watson’s application included a Paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patents covering Renvela are invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed by a generic version, prompting Genzyme to file a patent infringement suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Watson’s case puts a stay of final FDA approval of Watson’s product for two and a half years or until the two companies resolve the matter before the court.

 

 

In May, Watson also filed for approval of a generic version of Renvela in tablet form.

 

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NEVHC utilizing new robotic medication dispensing system

BY Alaric DeArment

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. A network of health centers in California is using Innovation’s robotic medication dispensing system, Innovation said Tuesday.

The Northeast Valley Health Corp., in San Fernando, Calif., is using Innovation’s PharmAssist ROBOTx dispensing system to fill prescriptions at its 12 health centers, including its mobile van, throughout California’s San Fernando and San Clarita valleys.

“Prior to implementing PharmAssist ROBOTx, we were struggling to keep up with the prescription volume across all our health centers, which was putting a lot of stress on our staff,” NEVHC director of pharmacy Rosie Jadidian said. “Since going live earlier this year, we are now able to complete our daily workload, which averages 650 prescriptions but goes as high as 1,200 prescriptions on some days.”

Jadidian said the system, which now fills around 50% of NEVHC’s prescriptions, has made it possible for the company to make plans to open a new health center without hiring a pharmacist.

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