PHARMACY

NCPA, Purdue kick off ‘Protect Your Pharmacy Week’

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma announced the start of “Protect Your Pharmacy Week” — a reflection of the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! initiative that began in 2008 to encourage pharmacists to protect their stores, staff and patients against pharmacy crimes, including prescription drug robbery and thefts.

This year, NCPA and Purdue introduced a new theme encouraging pharmacists to make a plan to REACT. The acronym REACT — remain calm, eye witness, activate alarm, call police and take charge — represents some highly recommended tips for community pharmacists to remember in the case of a crime against a pharmacy.

“NCPA and its partners developed the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! initiative in 2008 to help pharmacy owners proactively prepare to keep pharmacies a place of safe and effective health care,” stated Robert Greenwood, NCPA president. “We are proud to continue the program with additional tools and resources to help pharmacists effectively REACT in the case of a crime against their stores.”

As part of the program this year, new benefits to NCPA members include:

  • New security height decals for the pharmacy doorway featuring a REACT reminder above to help pharmacists, staff and patients be better witnesses;

  • Discounts and free shipping on the line of narcotics dispensers, safes and cabinets from Pharmasafe; and

  • A volunteer opportunity to be featured in the 2012 Protect Your Pharmacy Now! "RxPatrol Pharmacy Safety and Security" video to highlight real-life examples, tips and suggestions to help pharmacy owners prepare to improve the safety and security of their stores.

In addition, NCPA members can receive free ceiling mobiles to draw attention to security cameras in their stores, links to RxPatrol training videos on pharmacy crime, discounts on closed-circuit TV cameras, recorders and surveillance equipment, and safety and security tips from law enforcement professionals.

Purdue Pharma created RxPatrol, a national database that tracks, analyzes and provides information on pharmacy crime to law enforcement and pharmacies. Purdue is partnering with Crime Stoppers and other community anti-crime programs to offer rewards for information leading to arrests for pharmacy crime. Tips can be made anonymously and have led to more than 100 arrests since the program’s inception. More information about the program can be found at RxPatrol.org.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Actemra as arthritis treatment for children

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Genentech for treating a rare and severe form of arthritis that affects children, Genentech said.

The biotech company, the U.S. division of Swiss drug maker Roche, announced the FDA approval of Actemra (tocilizumab) for active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. SJIA has the worst long-term prognosis of all varieties of childhood arthritis.

“Today’s FDA approval marks an important advance in the treatment of SJIA, a debilitating condition affecting children,” Genentech head of global product development and chief medical officer Hal Barron said. “As the first and only approved treatment for SJIA, Actemra offers a new option for this extremely difficult-to-treat disease. This approval also demonstrates our commitment to science and patients with high unmet medical need, including orphan diseases.”

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PHARMACY

CVS Caremark announces settlement of retail pharmacy reimbursements

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark announced on Friday that it has agreed to pay $17.5 million, to be allocated among the federal government and 10 participating states, to resolve a civil complaint concerning how its CVS/pharmacy retail pharmacies submitted reimbursement claims in certain states for prescriptions filled for "dual eligible" patients who have coverage under both Medicaid and a third-party insurance plan.

The settlement agreement is with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, and state attorneys general from 10 states — Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada and Rhode Island. This payment amount has been fully accrued for in prior fiscal periods and is not material.

Pursuant to the agreement, the company denied engaging in any wrongful conduct, and indicated that it has settled the matter to avoid the expense and uncertainty of protracted litigation.

CVS/pharmacy stated that it did not intentionally overcharge any state Medicaid program. The company regularly receives reimbursement from Medicaid and believes it is in compliance with each state’s billing requirements for dual eligible patients. Dual eligible patients with third-party insurance coverage comprise a small percentage of the Medicaid patient population, and this matter involves only certain state Medicaid programs. The settlement involves the CVS/pharmacy retail business only and does not involve CVS Caremark’s pharmacy benefit manager or Medicare Part D businesses, the company noted. CVS Caremark stressed its commitment to ensuring its business operations are in compliance with the law and that they adhere to the highest ethical standards.

The company stated that it continues to work with the government to reconcile the billing processes for dual eligible patients, which vary based on each state’s Medicaid program, to ensure compliance with all reimbursement regulations.

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