PHARMACY

PPOk members join NCPA

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association has expanded its membership.

The group said the Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma has signed up all of its members. PPOk members, NCPA said, now will have access to:

  • Financial benchmarking, via the NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health;

  • Exclusive peer-to-peer Members Forum discussions and updates on healthcare-reform implementation;

  • Programs, such as Dispose My Meds prescription drug disposal; and

  • Discounts on the best pharmacy meetings in the industry.

“PPOk’s leadership and many of its pharmacies have long been supporters and members of the NCPA, and we’re excited to now have all of its members on board,” said Robert Greenwood, NCPA president. “With so many changes and challenges before us, independent pharmacy must demonstrate strength in numbers and work together for our profession and our patients. We’re glad to have PPOk join us in our efforts to make our voices heard.”

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NACDS leader addresses legislation impacting pharmacies, patients

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A group representing the drug retailing industry submitted a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., regarding "issues [that] are of the utmost importance" to its members.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ president and CEO, Steve Anderson, wrote to Issa, highlighting certain pieces of legislation that affect traditional drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies, all of which NACDS represents.

Anderson first touched upon the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. New provisions to the HITECH Act, which was passed in 2009, would require accounting of all disclosures of sensitive health information among patients. "If this expansion of the accounting requirement were to be imposed on pharmacies, it would cause chain pharmacies to have to completely replace their existing information technology systems nationwide. This would have a significant negative impact on many pharmacies that are currently struggling," Anderson wrote.

Next up: durable medical equipment accreditation requirements imposed by the Medical Modernization Act of 2003, which also would place financial burden on certain pharmacies that may have to forgo providing DMEPOS to their patients, the NACDS leader noted.

Anderson also discussed the implementation of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Medicare Part B provider enrollment, chain and ownership system, stating that the "pharmacies … have no control over whether a provider is enrolled in PECOS and no ability to require them to be enrolled. As a result, pharmacies who want to assure that their patients receive their ordered medical equipment and supplies face the difficult choice of denying patients their needed healthcare items or providing them and being at risk for no payment," he said.

Addressing CMS’ competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies, which includes diabetes testing supplies, NACDS urged that pharmacies be excluded from DMEPOS CBPs, as "limiting access … at community pharmacies would fragment care, thereby increasing patient confusion and disrupting therapy, all of which can increase overall program costs."

NACDS’ letter follows the National Community Pharmacists Association’s submission of its own list of recommendations on how certain current or proposed federal regulations can burden pharmacies and their patients.

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FDA OKs Natroba

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new treatment for head lice, the agency said Tuesday.

The FDA approved Natroba (spinosad) topical suspension, made by ParaPro, a privately owned drug company based in Carmel, Ind. The drug is used to treat head lice infestation in patients ages 4 years and older.

“Natroba provides another option for the topical treatment of head lice infestations, which are especially prevalent in the pediatric population,” FDA Office of Drug Evaluation III director Julie Beitz said. “Head lice is a common problem among schoolchildren in the United States.”

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