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NCPA fighting to maintain Medicaid reimbursement as states approach fiscal year-end

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association last week delivered a letter to the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules opposing an Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services proposal to sharply decrease Medicaid reimbursements and “slow-walk” reimbursement payments.

The action could force more than 700 independent community pharmacies to shutter their doors, the NCPA stated.

“We understand Illinois is facing a serious budget crunch, but these proposed changes to Medicaid pharmacy reimbursements are penny-wise and pound-foolish,” stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA EVP and CEO. “The front-end savings will be cancelled out if independent community pharmacies exit the program, depriving Medicaid patients of the invaluable prescription drug counseling that improves health outcomes and lessens expenditures," he added. "Independent community pharmacies cannot afford to see their slim profit margins reduced further or their reimbursement delayed longer.”

The debate around Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement rates is sure to heat up across all states in the coming months, according to an analysis from The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured published earlier this year. According to the report, among the factors that will drive politicians to adjust their Medicaid budget in the middle of 2011 are:

  • State revenue growth remains weak, and revenue levels are still far below pre-recession levels in most states;

  • Medicaid enrollment is rising at a slower but still high rate in 2011 compared to 2010, and remains above original growth projections in some states;

  • A number of states must make mid-year budget cuts to close shortfalls for fiscal year 2011; and

  • States, many with new leadership, will prepare budgets for fiscal year 2012 that must account for ongoing state budget shortfalls and the expiration the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enhanced Medicaid matching fund.

The Illinois proposal being challenged by the NCPA would change the state’s Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement formula from average wholesale price minus 12% to wholesale acquisition cost plus 1%. It also slows the reimbursement cycle from 30 to 160 days. Independent community pharmacies dispense 14% of annual Medicaid prescriptions. In addition, 92% of independent community pharmacies’ revenue comes from prescriptions.

According to the NCPA, Illinois’ independent community pharmacies have more than 7,000 employees and represent approximately $2.9 billion in total annual sales.

For the complete NCPA letter, click here.

For the Kaiser survey, click here.

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Aug-23-2011 06:58 am

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Estée Lauder CFO to retire

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Estée Lauder — whose brands include M•A•C, Aveda, Bumble and Bumble, American Beauty, Flirt! and GoodSkin Labs — has announced the retirement of Richard Kunes, EVP and CFO, on or about June 30, 2013.

Kunes intends to continue to serve as CFO until June 30, 2012, or an earlier time as his successor begins to serve as CFO. Thereafter, he will continue his relationship with the company as EVP and senior adviser to the CEO, and work on special projects through June 30, 2013.

The company will begin assessing both internal personnel and external candidates for the CFO role. Kunes will work closely with his successor as needed to ensure a smooth and orderly transition until his retirement.

“I admire Rick’s long-standing commitment to The Estée Lauder Cos., and on behalf of the company, I am thankful for his contributions and efforts,” stated William Lauder, executive chairman. “As CFO, Rick has been an important member of our leadership team and has been instrumental in helping our company reach record financial highs. Through his leadership and expertise, Rick instilled the financial discipline that has helped us achieve our industry leadership position. I am sorry to see Rick leave us, but regrettably I understand his choice to retire and spend more time with his family.”

Kunes joined the company in 1986 as international manufacturing controller. Since then, he served in increasingly important roles at the company, including regional finance director for Asia, VP operations finance worldwide and corporate controller, until his appointment to CFO in 2000.

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Prasco to sell authorized generic of Shionogi drug

BY Alaric DeArment

CINCINNATI — Prasco will market an authorized generic drug for urinary tract infections under an agreement with Shionogi, the company said Monday.

Prasco announced that it signed a supply agreement with Shinogi to market and distribute nitrofurantoin oral suspension, an authorized generic version of Furadantin. Authorized generics are branded drugs marketed under their generic names at a discounted price, usually through a third-party company, such as Prasco.

"Prasco is pleased to work with Shionogi to extend another of its brands, Furadantin oral suspension, into our authorized generic product line as nitrofurantoin oral suspension," Prasco CEO E. Thomas Arington said. "This agreement expands our relationship with Shinogi, a leading global pharmaceutical company."

Last month, the company contracted with Shionogi to sell an authorized generic version of the painkiller Ponstel (mefenamic acid).

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