PHARMACY

N.J. governor: Changing Medicaid Rx will help save $41 million

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A group representing the nation’s pharmacy benefit managers is responding to a proposal made by New Jersey governor Chris Christie that seeks to modernize the state’s Medicaid program.

Christie said the proposed overhaul, which includes managing prescription drug benefits similarly to those in Medicare and private-sector programs, would save the state $41 million, “while still providing vital services,” the governor said.

In response, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association said that Gov. Christie’s proposal is "right," as many state Medicaid programs "pay too much for prescription drugs because they use an archaic, fee-for-service approach in which state officials set payment rates and are therefore constantly lobbied to inflate them by special interests."

“By administering Medicaid drug benefits like those in Medicare, New Jersey will save millions without cutting benefits to those in need," said PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt. "Currently, the program uses fewer generic drugs and pays more than either Medicare or private insurers. It’s time to modernize New Jersey’s Medicaid drug benefits and bring costs more in line with those of other programs.”

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PHARMACY

New cardiovascular risk calculator now available online

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — In line with American Heart Month, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Micardis has introduced a cardiovascular risk-reduction calculator, designed to assess patients’ cardiovascular risk.

The calculator, which can be accessed at MicardisPro.com, is an interactive, useful tool for healthcare professionals to assist patients in reaching their cardiovascular risk-reduction goal, the company said.

Micardis (telmisartan) is a drug designed to treat hypertension.

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Hi-Tech Pharmacal receives market exclusivity for generic Neurontin

BY Alaric DeArment

AMITYVILLE, N.Y. — Generic drug maker Hi-Tech Pharmacal has received Food and Drug Administration approval for its version of a drug used to treat neurological disorders, the company said Tuesday.

Hi-Tech announced the approval of gabapentin oral solution in the 250 mg/5 mL strength, a generic version of Pfizer’s Neurontin oral solution.

The drug is used to treat postherpetic neuralgia and epilepsy. Neurontin had sales of $15 million in 2010, according to IMS Health.

As the first company to file for generic approval, Hi-Tech will get 180 days in which to compete directly with the branded version.

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