NCPA: DMEPOS competitive bidding will drive indies out of diabetes business
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday released results from a survey of more than 800 independent community pharmacists about the negative consequences for their patients and their businesses if diabetes testing supplies under Medicare Part B are subjected to competitive bidding prices.
“The message from our survey is clear: applying competitive bidding prices for diabetes testing supplies to independent community pharmacies is financially unsustainable for these pharmacies,” stated NCPA EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey.
“Community pharmacists are indispensable to helping combat diabetes, whether it is the counseling they offer, the medications they dispense, the lifestyle modification classes they provide or the testing supplies they carry,” Hoey added. “But that dynamic will be harmed if these small business pharmacies are forced to walk away from a pricing structure that only a large warehouse can make work. Such a mass exodus of community pharmacies from Medicare Part B would diminish seniors’ access and the health complications that could ensue will only increase overall health costs.”
Survey results included:
- 81% of independents reported that their average Medicare diabetes patient visits his or her independent community pharmacy two or more times per month for counseling and/or diabetes testing supplies;
- 84% of community pharmacists surveyed said they would likely drop out of the program if forced to take reduced payments or competitively bid;
- If their patients were forced to obtain diabetes supplies by other means, 84% of pharmacists said their patients would suffer a significant impact; and
- The overwhelming majority (81%) of independent community pharmacies regularly deliver diabetes testing supplies to patients — often free of charge — with 28% making 30 or more deliveries per month. Without that home delivery and counseling from a community pharmacist, 65% of pharmacists predicted a significant impact on these patients, many of whom are homebound.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has indicated that by 2016, providers of these supplies, which include testing strips, monitors, lancets and glucose control solutions, will either have to accept prices established under the mail-order competitive bidding process or competitively bid in order to continue participating in the Durable Medical Equipment, Orthotics, Prosthetics and Supplies program.
In July 2011, the average retail single payment amount for diabetes testing supplies was $37.67, whereas the Round 1 Competitive Bidding Program single payment amount for January 2011 was $14.62.
For the full survey, click here.
Slim-Fast loses cans in bottled makeover
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — Unilever on Monday announced a makeover for its Slim-Fast brand with the introduction of new, convenient on-the-go bottles.
“We know that roughly [one-third] of women diet twice a year with a specific event in mind; however, losing weight shouldn’t mean sacrificing taste,” stated Kathy O’Brien, VP foods for Unilever U.S. “Our new Slim-Fast shakes make it even easier — and tastier — for dieters to walk into a room and wow the crowd.”
The Slim-Fast shakes are part of the Slim-Fast 3•2•1 Plan and product line, a method to meet weight-loss goals quickly, conveniently and safely. The plan includes three snacks, two shakes or meal replacements bars and one nutritious, balanced, 500-calorie meal.
Beginning Oct. 17, Slim-Fast will offer a “Buy It Now” option on its official Facebook page that will provide consumers with the opportunity to order the all-new Slim-Fast shakes and other Slim-Fast products quickly, conveniently and directly through a custom tab. The new shakes also will begin to appear on retail shelves this month and will be available in the diet and nutrition sections of retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Safeway, Walgreens and Kroger, as well as on Amazon.com.
The 10-oz. bottles will be sold in packs of four, eight and 20, and are lighter, reclosable and more versatile than the previous Slim-Fast canned shakes, the company stated.
FDA accepts application for Banner Pharmacaps’ generic cancer drug
HIGH POINT, N.C. — The Food and Drug Administration has accepted the first regulatory approval application for a generic version of a cancer drug made by Eisai.
Banner Pharmacaps announced Tuesday that it had filed for regulatory approval of generic bexarotene gelatin capsules in the 75-mg strength, a generic version of Eisai’s Targretin, used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, or CTCL skin cancer. Under the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, once the drug is approved, Banner will be the exclusive supplier of a generic version of Targretin for 180 days.
"Knowing that our company is able to have a positive impact on the healthcare costs and treatment for cancer patients in the United States is inspiring and immensely rewarding," Banner president and CEO Roger Gordon said.