PHARMACY

Report: Anxiety disorders capture one-third of mental health spending

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — One-third of spending on mental health in the United States, or $42 million, goes toward anxiety disorders, according to a new report by Companies & Markets.

The report found that the global anxiety disorders market would likely rise in value to $5.9 billion by 2017, thanks to increasing stress levels exacerbated by an unstable economic climate, the aging of the population, an increase in patients with anxiety disorders and new drug development.

In Europe, more than one-quarter of the population is believed to have some sort of brain-related disorder, particularly depression, while 5% growth per year is expected in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Medicare and Medicaid FAST Act takes aim at cutting waste, fraud and abuse

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Bipartisan legislation that is aimed to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid programs has been introduced to Congress.

Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said that the Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayers’ Dollars Act, which was unveiled Wednesday, would address the aforementioned problems, which often lead to tens of billions of dollars lost to waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid every year, the senators said.

The legislation, also referred to as the FAST Act, is cosponsored by Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Scott Brown, R-Mass.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and John Thune, R-S.D.

Responding to the introduced legislation, the National Community Pharmacists Association said that although the group was continuing to review the legislation, it applauded the senators’ efforts, stating that "every dollar that is lost to fraudsters or misspent on bloated administrative expenses increases costs for everyone, jeopardizes patients’ access to pharmacists and other providers and creates artificial pressure on provider reimbursements, which already don’t necessarily cover the cost of providing care."

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Supreme Court strikes down Rx data mining law

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has struck down a law in Vermont designed to encourage generic drug usage by limiting the sharing of information about what branded drugs doctors prescribe, so that drug companies could use it when crafting sales pitches, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported that justices voted 6-3 against a law in Vermont that had banned pharmacies from selling de-identified information about branded drug prescriptions to data-mining companies without doctors’ permission. Typically, the data-mining companies provide the data to drug makers, which use it when determining how to market their medications to doctors.

AP reported that the ruling could also affect similar laws in Maine and New Hampshire. In his majority opinion, justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the law violated free speech rights, but justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent that the law was a regulation of business activity and thus constitutional.

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