PHARMACY

NACDS seeks pharmacy reward program access for Medicare, Medicaid patients

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

ARLINGTON, Va. — In comments to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores advocated for the voluntary ability of pharmacies to extend their reward and loyalty programs to beneficiaries in government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. While urging progress on HHS-OIG’s proposed rule to this effect, NACDS indicated modifications that would be necessary for its workability.

“The proposed rule, if properly finalized, will allow government program beneficiaries to enjoy access to programs voluntarily implemented by pharmacies which reduce healthcare costs, improve quality, and promote patient health,” NACDS wrote.

Federal laws have blocked participation by government-program beneficiaries in such initiatives, even though these initiatives have been enjoyed by other patients for many years, according to NACDS. Programs vary in their specific designs. They often include cost-savings or other rewards for filling prescriptions or engaging in other health-promotion programs, such as health screenings or strategies designed to enhance medication adherence — or taking medications as prescribed.

“Pharmacy programs affected by the proposed rule reduce healthcare costs, both for individual patients and for the healthcare system as a whole. At the same time, these pharmacy programs promote access to prescribed medications that are essential to maintaining patient health and wellness,” NACDS commented.

“Failure to take medications as prescribed leads to major healthcare complications for patients and $290 billion in increased healthcare costs as a result of preventable physician visits and hospitalizations. Incentives to participate in medication adherence and other beneficial pharmacy programs have a demonstrated track record of increasing patient health while simultaneously decreasing overall healthcare costs.”

NACDS noted that non-government payers and patients have found these programs to be effective, without contributing to overutilization of care.

While supportive of the intent of the proposed rule, NACDS detailed necessary revisions. In one example among a series of recommended revisions, NACDS urged elimination of a provision that pharmacies must not voluntarily offer to waive or reduce cost-sharing, or co-payments, as part of an advertisement or solicitation.

“There is no rational basis for prohibiting pharmacies from informing the public about programs that reduce healthcare costs and promote access to prescribed medical care. OIG should recognize pharmacies’ First Amendment rights and eliminate this restriction,” NACDS wrote.

The comment period for the proposed rule ends Dec. 2.
 

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

PHARMACY

FDA issues draft guidance on key product tracing provisions of Drug Supply Chain Security Act

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Food and Drug Administration recently issued draft guidance on key product tracing provisions of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, which is expected to be implemented by industry by Jan. 1, 2015. 
 
According to the guidance, trading partners can utilize current paper-based or electronic-based methods for the interoperable exchange of data to provide product tracing information to subsequent purchasers. Such methods could include, but are not limited to, the use of:
 
  • Paper or electronic versions of invoices;
  • Paper versions of packing slips;
  • Electronic Data Interchange standards, such as 856 Advance Ship Notice (ASN), which is currently used to provide the receiving entity with advance data on shipments; and
  • EPCIS, or Electronic Product Code Information Services, which defines a data-sharing interface that enables supply chain partners to capture and communicate data about the movement and status of objects in the supply chain.
"While we are still in the process of evaluating this guidance, and will provide a more comprehensive response to the FDA during the 60-day comment period, it does appear to give the supply chain a degree of flexibility in preparing for the Jan. 1 deadline to have in place processes and protocols to capture transaction data from suppliers and have the capacity to pass that information along to downstream customers," the Healthcare Distribution Management Association released in a statement. 
 
HDMA expressed concerns last week about the pharmaceutical supply chain’s ability to comprehensively meet the implementation deadline for key product tracing provisions of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act.
 
"As you know, HDMA has been a long-time champion of the DSCSA as it represents the best solution for enhancing supply chain security, creating uniformity across the country and ensuring the safety of our nation’s drug supply," John Gray, HDMA president and CEO, expressed in an email to the agency. "This is, however, a learning experience for all involved, and at this time, we expect continued development through at least the first quarter of 2015, particularly as distributors expand their focus to also include on-boarding dispenser customers."
 

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

PHARMACY

Teva launches generic Exforge HCT tabs

BY Ryan Chavis

JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical on Monday announced the launch of a generic version of Exforge HCT (amlodipine, valsartan, hydrochlorothiazide) tablets in the United States. Teva was first to file for the generic, according to the company. 
 
Exforge HCT tablets, which are marketed by Novartis, had annual sales in the United States of approximately $158 million as of September 2014, according to IMS Health data. 

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES