PHARMACY

NCPA supports Ore. reimbursement, audit, pharmacy choice legislation

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Bills introduced in Oregon’s state legislature would allow employers and other health plan sponsors to have greater knowledge about how pharmacy benefit managers determine the rates at which they pay pharmacies for dispensing generic drugs; establish new standards for pharmacy audits while requiring PBMs to register in the state and be licensed by the state board of pharmacy; and prevent health plans from requiring residents of the state to use mail-order pharmacies.

S.B. 363 would allow Oregonians to fill prescriptions at the pharmacy of their choice, similar to legislation recently enacted in New York and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, H.B. 2123, in addition to requiring PBMs to register in the state, would include the same maximum allowable cost, or MAC disclosure, and updating requirements featured in S.B. 402.

"No homebuilder would agree to build a house with knowing what they would be paid, the cost of their construction materials or whether they would be held harmless when the cost of lumber or other goods increases," National Community Pharmacists Association second VP and Grants Pass, Ore., pharmacist and pharmacy owner Michele Belcher said. "Yet that’s exactly the situation that community pharmacists are in today. This bill would simply let the pharmacist know how they will be reimbursed for drugs and allows employers to better understand what makes up their drug plan costs."

In one example, at a legislative hearing, a local pharmacist reported being reimbursed less than $1.80 for a prescription for which the previous reimbursement was $8.69. Similar bills are under consideration in the state legislatures of Kentucky, North Dakota and Oklahoma. 

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PDX, CoverMyMeds partner on prior authorizations

BY Alaric DeArment

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Pharmacy-automation system maker PDX has made a deal with CoverMyMeds to help pharmacies using PDX’s system to expedite the submission of prior-authorization forms to health insurance plans, PDX said.

The service, which will be offered at no cost to pharmacies, is meant to decrease the administrative hassles of prior authorizations, improve turnaround time and help to stop prescription abandonment.

"It is important that pharmacies have technologies they need to work smarter and faster," PDX CEO Jeff Farris said. "By partnering with CoverMyMeds, PDX customers will have access to another utility that will help streamline the prior authorization rejection process. We remain focused on delivering solutions and services our pharmacy partners require to remain efficient, such as those offered by CoverMyMeds."


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State, territorial attorneys general call for anti-tampering measures in opioids

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The attorneys general of 46 states and two territories are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to make prescription painkillers harder to abuse.

In a letter to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the attorneys general, writing on behalf of the National Association of Attorneys General, wrote that people who abuse opioid painkillers are increasingly using those that lack tamper-resistant features. While Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin (oxycodone) has tamper-resistant features, some, such as North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper, expressed concerns that future generic versions of the drug – which loses patient protection this year – may not have tamper-resistant features unless the FDA requires them.

"As a specific example, we are concerned with the possibility that generic versions of extended-release opioid prescription drugs and other non-tamper-resistant products may reach the market," the attorneys general wrote. "We applaud the FDA for expeditiously proposing guidelines establishing clear standards for manufacturers who develop and market tamper- and abuse-resistant opioid products while considering incentives for undertaking the research and development necessary to bring such products to market."

The attorneys general included those of Puerto Rico, Guam and every state except Indiana, Virginia, Connecticut and Michigan. 

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