PHARMACY

N.Y. Medicaid program could save big through new approach

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — New York’s state Medicaid program could save $2.2 billion over 10 years by managing Medicaid pharmacy benefits more like private-sector employer plans, state employee plans and Medicare, according to a new study by healthcare policy research firm The Lewin Group.

While most health plans use third parties to increase generic utilization and directly negotiate pharmacy payments with chain drug stores and wholesalers that represent independents, Medicaid uses fee-for-service programs in which public officials help determine dispensing fees and reimbursements.

“Medicaid is one of the few pharmacy benefit programs that still relies heavily upon a fee-for-service approach,” Pharmaceutical Care Management Association president and CEO Mark Merritt said. “By operating more like Medicare and commercial market plans, the New York Medicaid program could reduce pharmacy costs, increase the use of generics and save $2.2 billion over 10 years without cutting benefits.”

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PHARMACY

Hy-Vee announces participation in Pharmacy Saver

BY Alaric DeArment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee will offer 366 commonly prescribed generic prescription drugs for as little as $2 to select Medicare beneficiaries through a program offered in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare, Hy-Vee said.

The chain said it joined Pharmacy Saver, which UnitedHealthcare started last year. UnitedHealthcare is the country’s largest Medicare Part D insurer, and the program is available at more than 6,000 locations throughout the country.

“Hy-Vee is always looking for ways to help our pharmacy customers save money on their prescriptions,” Hy-Vee VP pharmacy operations Bob Egeland said. “With the Pharmacy Saver program, Medicare patients don’t have to sacrifice convenience, flexibility or friendly personalized service in order to get the lowest prices on the medications they need.”

Like many retailers, Hy-Vee offers a generic discount program, whereby customers can fill 30-day prescriptions for $4 and 90-day prescriptions for $10.

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PHARMACY

GenerationRx youth toolkit addresses Rx abuse among teens

BY Allison Cerra

DUBLIN, Ohio — The Cardinal Health Foundation has strengthened its alliance with the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy to address prescription drug abuse among teens.

The Cardinal Health Foundation and the college’s GenerationRx youth toolkit provides healthcare providers, pharmacists, parents, teachers, youth group leaders and other concerned citizens with unique, interactive resources to educate teens about the realities and dangers of prescription drug abuse, the Cardinal Health Foundation said.

The toolkit — which is available for download at CardinalHealth.com/GenerationRx — complements the Generation Rx toolkit the two organizations developed for adults.

“Cardinal Health customers and employees are passionate about educating the public about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and misuse, and our new youth toolkit was created in direct response to their interest in speaking directly to teens about this growing public health issue,” said Jessica Lineberger, community relations manager for Cardinal Health.

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