PHARMACY

NACDS urges prescribers to obtain NPI, expresses concerns on drug delays

BY Diana Alickaj

ALEXANDRIA, Va. New regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have inspired the National Association of Chain Drug Stores to call on organizations nationwide to help ensure compliance, according to published reports.

The regulations, which take effect on May 23, 2008, require that all pharmacies submit a prescriber’s National Provider Identifier on all prescription drug claims to ensure that patients will get reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid prescriptions. To spread the word, the NACDS has sent letters to over 70 groups that represent the field, including patients and prescribers.

“Approximately one-third of prescribers do not have an NPI yet,” said NACDS President and CEO Steve Anderson. “We want to work with prescribers to achieve universal NPI compliance and ensure that Medicare and Medicaid patients can get their medications.” Based on the regulations, patients of doctors who do not have an NPI may have to pay full expenses out-of-pocket or not receive their medications at all.

To see the text of the letter, click here.

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PHARMACY

Mylan twarted by court in Topamax case

BY Drew Buono

TITUSVILLE, N.J. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a ruling that prevents Mylan from marketing a generic version of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical’s epilepsy drug Topamax, according to Reuters.

The decision was originally found in a District Court in New Jersey. Now, Mylan has to wait until the patent expires in September before launching a generic.

Topamax had sales in 2007 of over $1.8 billion.

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Independents, chains team up to spread the word about e-prescribing

BY Drew Buono

ALEXANDRIA, Va. On April 17, a new campaign will launch in thousands of pharmacies, aimed at informing patients about the benefits of e-prescribing and also encouraging them to tell their doctors about the technology.

Many independent pharmacies are joining the campaign, along with such big chains as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kerr and Wal-Mart, to promote the program through in-store signs and educational material. Signage that reads “e-prescriptions filled here” and “give your prescriptions a head start” will be found on pharmacy doors and at counters.

Patients interested in learning more about the program—such as which pharmacies or physicians in their area practice e-prescribing—will be directed to the campaign’s Web site, www.LearnAboutEprescriptions.com.

To prove the worth of e-prescribing, Walgreens and SureScripts, who is providing the network for the e-prescribing pharmacies, have released a survey showing the benefits of implementing e-prescribing in a pharmacy.

According to the findings of the Walgreens/SureScripts study, prescriptions filled at pharmacies increased by 11 percent once physicians began actively using e-prescribing and that the savings for pharmacy labor costs are $1.07 for every new prescription and $0.41 for every refill due to e-prescribing.

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