NACDS outlines role of pharmacy in patient care to Senate committee
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced Thursday that it has submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging outlining the value of the pharmacist-patient interaction in helping improve health and reduce costs in the Medicare program, and urged the committee to support the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011, which seeks to increase access to pharmacy services for Medicare beneficiaries.
NACDS submitted its comments in conjunction with the committee’s hearing, titled "A Prescription for Savings: Reducing Drug Costs to Medicare."
"Pharmacists play a key role in helping patients take their medications as prescribed and offer a variety of pharmacist-delivered services, such as medication therapy management, to improve quality and outcomes while reducing overall costs at the same time," NACDS stated in its comments. "Community pharmacists are uniquely qualified through their comprehensive education and training to significantly reduce the problem of poor medication adherence."
"As medication-use experts, pharmacists assist patients in achieving positive outcomes from their medication therapy. Pharmacists help patients every day by counseling on proper use of medications, checking for possible side effects, drug interactions or allergies, and helping to coordinate insurance benefits," NACDS added.
In the letter, NACDS also pressed the committee to support the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011 (S. 274), which seeks to increase access to pharmacy services for Medicare beneficiaries. The comments also outlined how increasing the use of generic medications can promote cost savings in the Medicare program.
"Increasing the rate at which generic pharmaceuticals are substituted for their brand-name equivalents or other brand-name drugs within the same drug classes is a cost-effective way of achieving Medicare Part D savings," NACDS stated in its comments. "By providing medication therapy management, increasing medication adherence, and promoting and increasing the use of generic medications, pharmacies and pharmacists continue to increase the healthcare quality and outcomes for Part D beneficiaries, while at the same time reducing overall program costs," the comments concluded.
FDA panel recommends approval of Remicade for UC in children
HORSHAM, Pa. — A panel of experts at the Food and Drug Administration has recommended that the agency approve a drug made by Johnson & Johnson as a treatment for ulcerative colitis in children.
J&J subsidiary Janssen Biotech, which formerly went under the name Centocor Ortho Biotech, said the FDA’s Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee recommended approval of Remicade (infliximab) for moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis in children who have not responded to conventional therapies. The FDA granted orphan drug designation to Remicade as a treatment for UC in children in 2003; the agency gives orphan drug designation to drugs for diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people.
“We are pleased with the advisory committee’s support for the approval of Remicade as a treatment for pediatric ulcerative colitis,” said Jerome Boscia, VP and head of immunology development for the Centocor Research & Development division of J&J Pharmaceutical Research & Development. “We hope the FDA will consider this recommendation and approve Remicade for this orphan disease.”
AmerisourceBergen shows off new initiatives for Good Neighbor Pharmacy
VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen on Thursday showcased a number of initiatives for its Good Neighbor Pharmacy independent franchise operations following its National Healthcare Conference and Exposition held in Las Vegas through the past week.
Those programs included a comprehensive brand marketing strategy under its Good Neighbor Pharmacy banner. “Offerings to the independent pharmacist include social media platforms with a national look and feel promoting community pharmacy, high-quality television commercials [that] play off a national branding campaign and advertisements customizable for their specific location — as well as availability in Spanish-language formats,” the company said.
“AmerisourceBergen understands that the community pharmacist plays an important role on the healthcare team,” AmerisourceBergen president David Neu said. “Good Neighbor Pharmacy is poised to support [pharmacists] with programs and solutions to help improve their business outcomes so they can focus their attention on caring for their patients.”
For Good Neighbor Pharmacy participants, AmerisourceBergen also highlighted its Business Coach and GNP InSite, a data analytics system that provides key performance indicators for the pharmacy. Good Neighbor Pharmacy members can leverage their data to find opportunities for growth, as well as examine benchmarks against their peers. The Business Coach helps to examine the pharmacy’s business practices and develop a plan for optimizing practices on prescription volume and mix, pricing, labor costs and scheduling, and technology assessments.