PCPAN responds to Express Scripts CEO’s comments about community pharmacists
WASHINGTON — Comments made by Express Scripts CEO George Paz after the pharmacy benefit manager’s earnings call last week has garnered some attention from a coalition that is looking to stop the merger between ESI and fellow PBM Medco Health Solutions.
During the question-and-answer portion of ESI’s fourth quarter 2011 earnings call, Paz was asked about the validation of narrow networks and providing larger savings for clients. He responded to one question by saying, "At the end of day, as I said earlier, Nexium is Nexium, Lipitor is Lipitor, drugs are drugs and it shouldn’t matter that much whose counting to 30. And I just believe that we should be able to make sure that we put the right person in front of the right cost and make sure that we serve our clients properly."
Paz also added during the Q&A that, "[We are] absolutely focused on that and we believe that the community pharmacists severe a very important role in health care, that they do a tremendous amount. But we just don’t see that one pharmacist does it that much better than another pharmacist, at least not by change. And so we’re just not going to pay those premiums."
The comments drew concerns from the Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! coalition, which said Paz’s statements demonstrated the "true feelings" of the PBM and further demonstrated why the proposed merger between ESI and Medco should be stopped.
"ESI and Medco have spent the last several months trying to defend their merger against claims it would result in decreased access to local community pharmacies, but recent comments demonstrate that ESI and Medco completely devalue pharmacists and show that the claims are indeed valid," PCPAN chairwoman Eva Clayton said. "Comments like this should raise serious concerns about how a combined company with such an attitude would treat pharmacies that provide important services and employ people in our communities. This is yet another reminder that this merger must be stopped."
Click here to read the full Q&A transcript.
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FDA declines to approve Watson reproductive drug
PARSIPPANY, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration turned down an application for a topical reproductive drug made by Watson Pharmaceuticals and Columbia Labs, the two companies said Monday.
The FDA sent the companies a complete response letter for their progesterone vaginal gel in the 8% strength. The drug is used to reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with singleton gestation and short uterine cervical length in the second trimester of pregnancy. Columbia transferred rights to the drug to Watson earlier this month, leaving Watson with full responsibility for obtaining regulatory approval.
The FDA said in the letter that results from a clinical trial of the drug did not show the levels of statistical significance that the agency requires for approval of a drug after a single late-stage clinical trial and that it would require additional clinical trial data before it could approve it.
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A healthier society costs everybody less
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Budget cuts are never an easy thing to do. Even if slashing spending on this program or that program can help replenish the government’s coffers and reduce a budget deficit, somebody always ends up losing.
(THE NEWS: Healthcare providers can challenge Calif. Medicaid cuts, Supreme Court rules. For the full story, click here)
In the case of California, cuts to the state’s Medicaid program, called Medi-Cal, would put patient access to community pharmacies in jeopardy as many would not receive reimbursements sufficient to make up for the cost of medications. In fact, as several pharmacy groups challenging cuts to Medi-Cal said in January when a lower court blocked the 10% reimbursement rate cut, many prescription drugs already are reimbursed at break-even rates.
But the idea of cutting pharmacy reimbursement rates also oversimplifies the issue and ignores the many ways that pharmacies can help save money.
According to most sources, medication nonadherence costs the country’s healthcare system $290 billion per year in otherwise unneeded medical costs. But pharmacy services, such as medication therapy management, can help reduce those costs by allowing the pharmacist to consult directly with the patient about the importance of taking medications as directed by physicians and the potential consequences of failing to do so. Meanwhile, such services as vaccinations can head off a number of medical costs by preventing people from getting sick in the first place.
Cutting spending on pharmacy reimbursements might seem like a quick and effective way to save money, but it’s shortsighted and misses the point: In the long run, a healthier society costs everybody less.
I absolutely agree with this article and I am sure that cutting spending on pharmacy reimbursements is not the best step.Pharmacies can really help save money, because it's even hard to imagine how many things depends on nation's health.Healthcare industry is one of the most expensive,staying health needs costs.I think that government should assist to medical programs and pharmacies, because healthy people can boost an economy doing different job, and of course health society will cost everybody less.The main things are that pharmacies can really help to save money and healthy society is a base of strong state. Anna from http://britainloans.co.uk/