PEBTF awards prescription drug benefits contract to CVS Caremark
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund announced on Tuesday that it has awarded CVS Caremark a three-year contract to provide prescription drug benefits to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania employees, retirees and dependents, beginning July 1.
The PEBTF account will be serviced from the CVS Caremark mail order pharmacy in Wilkes Barre, Pa., the specialty pharmacy in Monroeville, Pa., and the customer service center in Monroeville, Pa.
The PEBTF stated that CVS Caremark was selected following a rigorous competitive-bidding and capabilities review process. In addition to its network and clinical programs, PEBTF members, under the CVS Caremark Maintenance Choice 2.0 program, now will be able to pick up their 90-day supply of maintenance medications at any CVS retail pharmacy at the same low co-pay as the mail order pharmacy.
The PEBTF, established in 1988, is the single largest employer group purchaser of insurance in Pennsylvania. The PEBTF administers health care benefits to approximately 186,000 active employees and their dependents. In addition, the PEBTF administers retiree health benefits for approximately 101,000 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania retirees and their dependents enrolled in the Retired Employees Health Program.
Mobile app reveals price differences of Rxs across local pharmacies
SALT LAKE CITY — Pharmacy customers looking to view and compare prescription drug prices now can do so on their iPhone or Android device.
LowestMed said its mobile application includes more than 1,000 of the most popular brand-name and generic drugs, consisting of more than 95% of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the nation, with thousands of additional drug price comparisons available on the company’s website LowestMed.com. How it works: LowestMed provides a list of discounted prices at nearby pharmacies of both branded prescription drugs and their generic alternatives. The app also includes access to the free LowestMed discount card, which when displayed at the point of sale, ensures savings of 10% to 85% off of retail prices, the company said.
“Most consumers don’t realize that prices can vary widely by pharmacy, and that up until this point the only way to do price comparisons on a local level was to go to each pharmacy and submit an insurance claim,” LowestMed CEO Brad Bangerter said. “With the LowestMed app, for the first time consumers are empowered with the full transparency to identify the least expensive drug prices in their area. We do for the pharmacy marketplace what Travelocity or Kayak does for the travel industry, providing a one-stop, fast, convenient and easy way for consumers to maximize savings on their medications.”
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Study: Gardasil doesn’t cause autoimmune conditions
PASADENA, Calif. — A human papillomavirus vaccine created by drug maker Merck does not cause autoimmune conditions after young women are inoculated, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study.
Researchers used electronic health records to conduct an observational safety study of 189,629 females ages 9 to 26 years in California who were followed for six months after receiving each dose of Gardasil, the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, from 2006 to 2008. The study looked for autoimmune conditions — such as immune thrombocytopenia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, multiple sclerosis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, vaccine-associated demyelination, Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuromyelitis optica, optic neuritis and uveitis — since autoimmune reactions have been a long-standing concern surrounding vaccination and many parents withhold the vaccine from their children because of perceived safety concerns, the researchers noted.
"This kind of safety information may help parents with vaccination decisions," said study lead author Chun Chao, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, Calif. "These findings offer some assurance that among a large and generalizable female population, no safety signal for autoimmune conditions was found following HPV4 vaccination in routine clinical use."
The study, funded by Merck, appears in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
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