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NACDS praises introduction of legislation to curb organized theft of medical products

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A bipartisan bill that aims to provide law enforcement with tools to crack crime rings that harm consumers by attempting to resell stolen medical products on the black market has received the praise of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

In a letter sent to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., NACDS thanked him for his leadership in introducing and advancing S. 1002, the “Strengthening and Focusing Enforcement to Deter Organized Stealing and Enhance Safety Act of 2011,” also called the “SAFE DOSES Act.”

The letter cites the importance of the bill in the fight against the organized theft of medical products, specifically prescription drugs, biologicals, devices and infant formula. 

“Your timely legislation comes amid concerns that criminal organizations are increasingly targeting prescription drugs and other medical products, and particularly goods in transit, because of the high value of shipments.  It would combat this type of theft by increasing penalties, stiffening sentences for these crimes, making theft of medical products a predicate for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, as well as providing law enforcement officials with additional mechanisms to fight dangerous crime rings,” NACDS stated in its letter.

“We commend you again for introducing and advancing strong bipartisan legislation that will assist healthcare providers, retailers and law enforcement combat the serious problem of organized theft of medical products and we look forward to working with you to enact this important legislation,” the letter concluded.

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Delhaize America turns out positive Q2 results

BY Allison Cerra

SALISBURY, N.C. — New stores, higher retail inflation and positive calendar impact drove sales up for Delhaize America, the U.S. sector of the Delhaize Group, during the second quarter ended June 30.

The division, which operates such banners as Food Lion, Hannaford and Bottom Dollar Food, reported that revenues rose 4.3% to $4.9 billion, while comparable-store sales increased 1.6%. Operating profit, however, dropped 2.7% to $205 million.

The results are very encouraging, Delhaize Group president and CEO Pierre-Oliver Beckers said, as the supermarket conglomerate has put a great emphasis on its U.S. business with the relaunch of about 200 Food Lion stores in the Raleigh, N.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn., markets, in addition to the expansion of the Bottom Dollar Food banner, which is adding more stores in the greater Philadelphia market and also will break ground in the greater Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio, markets, with 14 stores expected to open early next year.

At the end of June 2011, Delhaize Group operated 1,638 supermarkets in the United States.

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Pharmacy groups to U.S. Supreme Court: Pharmacies have right to challenge Medicaid cuts

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Looking to challenge reimbursement rate reductions for Medicaid beneficiaries, pharmacy groups have filed a joint legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The brief was filed by the American Pharmacists Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations in the case of Douglas v. Independent Living Center of California.

The initial lawsuit — filed by pharmacies and other healthcare providers — argues that a 10% Medicaid reimbursement cut in California violates the federal patient access law, which provides that Medicaid reimbursement rates must be “sufficient to enlist enough providers so that care and services are available under the plan at least to the extent that such care and services are available to the general population in the geographic area….” The pharmacy groups argue that proposed cuts would threaten access to care for Medicaid patients.

The joint legal brief filed by the four pharmacy groups further argues that a long line of Supreme Court decisions support the right to challenge state actions that are inconsistent with federal laws, and challenges to inadequate Medicaid reimbursement rates must be allowed if they threaten patient access to pharmacy care.

The Supreme Court will hold a hearing in the case on Oct. 3, and may issue a decision later this year.

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