PHARMACY

NCPA to Texas government: Contain Medicaid costs by utilizing community pharmacists

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Texas policymakers seeking to contain Medicaid costs should utilize community pharmacists to achieve both savings and optimal health outcomes, the National Community Pharmacists Association suggested on Thursday.

"Local, community pharmacists see firsthand both patients struggling to afford their medications and states grappling with significant budget deficits,” stated NCPA EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey. "Community pharmacists are leading the way to dispense lower-cost generic drugs, where appropriate for the patient, and we can work with state officials to further increase their use. In addition, pharmacists are trusted by their patients and can play a leading role to ensure proper medication use — an area estimated to have savings potential as high as $290 billion annually."

Both NCPA and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores have sent Texas leaders recommendations to help reduce Medicaid costs, while ensuring patients have continued access to their local pharmacists.

There is a concern that the state will opt to reduce dispensing reimbursements and push prescription fills toward mail order. "The truth is that the present dispensing fees paid by Medicaid to Texas pharmacies fail to cover a pharmacy’s cost of dispensing, as determined by a study conducted by the state of Texas and independently verified,” Hoey noted. “Reducing pharmacy dispensing fees would widen that gap and could force pharmacies out of the Medicaid program and reduce patient access to cost-effective treatments. Ensuring adequate dispensing fees is even more important today as Texas proceeds with its plans to reimburse pharmacies at no more than the cost they pay for medications.”

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Elite’s generic Adipex-P enters market

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTHVALE, N.J. — Elite Pharmaceuticals has begun shipping an appetite suppressant for reducing weight in obese patients, the company said Thursday.

The drug maker announced the initial shipment of phentermine hydrochloride tablets in the 37.5-mg strength. The drug is a generic version of Teva’s Adipex-P.

Adipex-P and generic versions had sales of about $40 million in 2010, according to IMS Health.

The shipment was made under a collaborative agreement with precision dose and its subsidiary, TAGI Pharma.

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Walgreens VP to present during Pinsonault Associates Managed Markets Summit

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens VP clinical affairs David Lorber will present during the Pinsonault Associates Managed Markets Summit on April 12 in Miami, Fla., the retailer announced Thursday.

The session, titled "Employer Issues in Specialty Pharmacy," will examine concerns for payers, including cost management and containment, benefit and coverage decisions, formulary and medical policy, pipeline management, provider network, member satisfaction and disruption, and compliance.

Specialty pharmacy is the most rapidly growing segment of total drug spending, Walgreens noted. Approximately 3% to 5% of the population is impacted, and that number is increasing. Lorber plans to discuss the goals of improving the health and well-being of patients by providing convenient access to drugs, consistent, coordinated support and maximum therapy outcomes, while also increasing adherence and eliminating direct costs resulting from medication waste. Walgreens specialty pharmacy offers patient assistance coordination, multiple distribution channels, strong manufacturer relationships, advanced clinical programs and access to limited distribution drugs.

Lorber joined Walgreens as the VP clinical affairs in November 2010 and is responsible for clinical oversight and consistency of Walgreens clinical programs. Previously, he was VP medical affairs for CVS Caremark. Prior to joining CVS Caremark, Lorber was medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico in Albuquerque and a private practitioner in pulmonary, critical care and internal medicine. He has held numerous positions in community leadership and professional organizations, including president of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Thoracic Society and faculty appointments as assistant clinical professor of medicine with the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and as assistant professor with the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson and the Tucson VA Hospital.

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