PHARMACY

Prescription Solutions introduces Value Network

BY Allison Cerra

IRVINE, Calif. — A pharmacy benefit management organization has introduced a pharmacy network that includes about 20,000 pharmacies across the United States.

Prescription Solutions said its Value Network now is available to clients of any size, including employers, unions, public agencies and coalitions.

According to the company, in urban areas, more than 90% of the U.S. population live within 4 miles of at least one Value Network pharmacy; in suburban areas, more than 90% of the U.S. population live within 8 miles of at least one Value Network pharmacy; and more than 70% of the U.S. population live within 15 miles of at least one Value Network pharmacy.

“More than [one-third] of our clients are asking for a network that will help them keep rising pharmacy costs in check and make health care more affordable for them. Our Value Network does just that through lower fees and better discounts,” said Angelo Giambrone, SVP industry and network relations at Prescription Solutions.

Members can locate a Value Network pharmacy near them by using the Prescription Solutions online pharmacy locator tool at PrescriptionSolutions.com.

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PHARMACY

NCPA backs bill to enhance pharmacy competition

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday announced support for the Quality Health Care Coalition Act of 2011 (H.R. 1409), which was introduced last week by House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, in an effort to improve the quality of patient care by leveling the playing field between healthcare professionals and insurance companies in the healthcare industry.

“Currently, the insurance industry, including healthcare insurance providers, is immune from federal antitrust laws under the McCarran-Ferguson Act,” Conyers stated. “As a result, the playing field is woefully unbalanced. By restoring the freedom of medical professionals to voluntarily come together to negotiate as a group with HMOs and insurance companies, this bill removes a government-imposed barrier to a true free market in health care.”

In response to the legislation, NCPA EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey said, “the competitive landscape is particularly inequitable in the pharmacy marketplace. The major [pharmacy benefit managers] administer drug plans and operate rival mail-order pharmacies. This inherent conflict of interest creates an even greater incentive for benefit managers to restrict patient choice of pharmacy and impose unfair audit and reimbursement practices.”

This marks the fourth iteration of the Quality Health Care Coalition Act. In 2000, the House passed similar legislation, H.R. 1304, the Quality Healthcare Coalition Act of 1999, offered by Reps. Tom Campbell, R-Calif., and Conyers. That bill passed the House by a vote of 276-136 but was not taken up the Senate. Similar legislation was introduced in the 107th (H.R. 3897) and 108th (H.R. 1120) congresses.

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FDA advisory committee recommends approval for Pfizer’s Sutent

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A Food and Drug Administration expert panel has given a favorable vote to a drug made by Pfizer for tumors, Pfizer said Tuesday.

The FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 8-2 that Sutent’s (sunitinib malate) benefits outweigh its risks in the treatment of unresectable pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

While the FDA is not bound by advisory committee votes, it takes them into consideration when deciding whether or not to approve a drug.

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