Regulations to impact pharmacy
There are several important pieces of legislation that will have an impact on the business of supermarket pharmacy if passed, noted Michael Spira, American Pharmacists Association senior lobbyist, during an FMI education session.
The Senate recently passed legislation on drug compounding, for example. A House version of compounding legislation is expected within the next month, Spira said.
A hydrocodone bill that beefs up requirements and penalties related to dispensing the narcotic pain reliever has been introduced in both the House and Senate. And track-and-trace drafts that would require monitoring pharmaceuticals at the lot and unit levels recently have been introduced in both divisions of Congress, Spira added.
Rx sales increase at supermarket
Out of all retail pharmacy outlets, food stores have slightly increased their prescription sales, generating March year-to-date sales of $5.7 billion, up 0.5%, according to IMS Health data. Including drug, mail and independents, prescription sales totaled $58.3 billion, down 4.7%, reported Doug Long, VP industry relations for IMS Health, at an FMI education breakout.
Supermarket pharmacy dispensed 132 million prescriptions in that time, up 2.3%, as compared with 964 million prescriptions dispensed across all channels, representing a 2.6% volume lift.
However, capturing patients soon may be of greater importance than prescriptions, noted John Fegan, VP pharmacy for Bi-Lo Winn-Dixie. “It isn’t about the numbers anymore, it’s about [patient] compliance and [health outcomes] impact,” he observed following Long’s presentation
Navigating PBM legislation
Antitrust attorney and pharmacy benefit management legal expert David Balto on Friday monitored a mini-summit helping supermarket pharmacy better navigate the PBM universe. And Balto updated attendees on the legislative landscape — three current bills pending in Congress; 29 states now regulate PBM activity; and 19 states have PBM legislation pending.