PHARMACY

NCPA names Mark Riley president, passes several resolutions

BY Michael Johnsen

ORLANDO, Fla. — The independent community pharmacist members of the National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday approved resolutions addressing a range of pharmacy issues and elected a slate of leaders for the upcoming year during the House of Delegates session held in conjunction with NCPA’s 115th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition.

Mark Riley, was named NCPA president. Riley is currently EVP of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association and owns East End Pharmacy in Little Rock, Ark. He is also one of the country’s foremost experts on the pharmacy benefit manager industry, having served as a PBM executive, and has appeared on Capitol Hill numerous times as a subject matter expert on the complicated topic, NCPA noted. 

“We congratulate Mark on his appointment as president of NCPA,” stated NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. “Mark is a distinguished leader known and respected by many independent community pharmacists. We thank him for all of his previous service to NCPA and for taking on this position. NCPA members are fortunate to have a world-class assembly of community pharmacy owners and pharmacists serving as officers to lead their trade association.”

NCPA members voted to approve the following resolutions for NCPA:

  • To encourage its members to engage self-insured employers in their communities to “make them aware that there are plan designs that are flexible, transparent, maximize cost savings and health outcomes, and are both pro-patient and pro-small business,” as opposed to arrangements that restrict patient choice, such as mandatory mail order;
  • To work with stakeholders across the independent community pharmacy industry “to promote existing resources and facilitate greater use of them to assist in the transfer of independent pharmacies from one independent owner to another;”
  • To address the inequity between large corporations that can pay effective tax rates that are far below those of small business community pharmacies, many of which are incorporated as S Corporations, NCPA should “advocate for a lowering of the effective tax rate for S Corporations or pass through entities as part of any congressional efforts to reform the nation’s tax code;"
  • To respond to the rise of specialty pharmaceuticals and specialty pharmacies by supporting a standard definition of “specialty” that is developed by the pharmacy profession and that is “not based primarily on pricing or other arbitrary standards that limit patient access.” The lack of a standard definition today may allow pharmacy benefit managers to arbitrarily categorize such drugs in order to maximize PBM profitability while limiting patient choice;
  • To support the right of community pharmacists to compound medications without restrictive regulations and under the continued oversight of individual state boards of pharmacy;
  • To promote policies and legislation that addresses alleged misuse by PBMs of maximum allowable cost drug reimbursement caps. Such policies and legislation should provide pharmacists and plan sponsors clarity into how MAC pricing is determined; establish a timely appeals process to resolve disputes; implement standardization as to how MACs are applied to certain medications; and require PBM disclosure to clients of the existence of multiple MAC lists as well as which, if any, MAC pricing is used in their mail order pharmacies; and
  • To examine possible solutions, including potential state and federal legislation, to ensure that third-party payers update their reimbursement on a real-time basis in order to pay pharmacies rates that reflect their cost of acquiring prescription drugs. In light of technology advances over the past decade, it is “outrageous and unacceptable that in the face of radically rising product prices, especially for generic drugs, payers are delaying drug price updates resulting in delayed drug reimbursement adjustments to pharmacies for weeks and even months.” 

“These resolutions speak to many of the challenges that independent community pharmacists face today as they try to continue serving patients,” Hoey said. 

In addition, Jeff Harrell joins NCPA’s leadership as fourth VP. He is co-owner of six pharmacies in Washington state, most of them located in the state’s southwestern Peninsula region, and all a part of Penninsula Pharmacies. Harrell managed an independent pharmacy in Seattle before returning to his native Long Beach, Wash., to become co-owner of Penninsula Pharmacies. He is a leading authority on technology innovations in pharmacy practice and a graduate of Washington State University, where he earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, NCPA stated.

Kristen Riddle was named fifth VP. She is president, director of clinical services for U.S. Compounding Pharmacy, a PCAB-accredited, compounding-only pharmacy located in Conway, Ark. She is also partner/owner in Adherence Model Pharmacy. Riddle is passionate about women’s health and is co-creator of the Rx Skin Therapy line of cosmeceutical skin care products available without a prescription. She earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, according to NCPA.

 

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Ritzman Pharmacies acquires five Mast Pharmacies locations

BY Michael Johnsen

WADSWORTH, Ohio — Ritzman Pharmacies and Mast Pharmacies on Monday announced the completed acquisition of all Mast-owned pharmacies to Ritzman Pharmacies.  

The Mast pharmacies previously operated under the name of Wooster Rx in Wooster, Ohio, and Mast Pharmacy in Berlin, Millersburg, Shreve and Sugarcreek, Ohio, but will be converted to Ritzman banners, the companies stated. 

"For 33 years, Mast Pharmacies has strived to always put the customer first. We are looking for this merger to provide the best for Mast customers and staff, continuing our tradition of customer service. I am confident that Ritzman will provide this," Rod Mast, owner of Mast Pharmacy, stated. 

"Mast and Ritzman are both locally owned businesses that share the same values, which makes this collaboration a natural fit," Eric Graf, Ritzman Pharmacies CEO, said. 

Mast indicated that ongoing changes in government regulations for pharmacies will require a greater need for administrative support to manage and assure compliance — Ritzman Pharmacies has the structure and personnel in place to handle new regulations.  

Mast will remain active in a consultative role with Ritzman Pharmacies, the companies noted.

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MinuteClinic enters Northern California, Coastal Southeastern North Carolina

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has announced that the first MinuteClinic locations in Northern California and the Bay Area have now opened inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.  

Three MinuteClinic locations are now operating in Foster City, San Jose and Sunnyvale CVS/pharmacy stores. Four additional clinics will begin to treat patients in November in Burlingame, Campbell, Mountain View and Santa Clara.

There are 35 MinuteClinic locations elsewhere in California, spanning from the San Fernando Valley to San Diego. MinuteClinic’s entry into Northern California is part of the company’s national expansion plan to open 150 clinics nationwide in 2013.

"Since opening the first clinics in Southern California in 2007, MinuteClinic has helped expand access to high-quality, convenient and affordable care to thousands of residents who have visited convenient CVS/pharmacy locations near where they live and work," stated Andrew Sussman, MinuteClinic president and CVS Caremark SVP/associate chief medical officer. "MinuteClinic can help support the primary care medical home in California at a time when the nation faces physician shortages coupled with increased patient demand as a result of the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act and an aging population."

Approximately half of MinuteClinic patients are seen on evenings, weekends and holidays, Sussman noted. And those patients who visit MinuteClinic without a primary care physician — which is about half of the patients that MinuteClinic sees — are provided a list of physicians in the area who are accepting new patients.

In other company news, MinuteClinic has also announced the opening of its first location in Coastal Southeastern North Carolina on Market Street in Wilmington. Additional clinics in Carolina Beach and Leland are expected to open in late October. The Wilmington clinic marks MinuteClinic’s 54th in North Carolina.

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