Senate passes Medicaid extension bill
ALEXANDRIA, Va. The Senate has passed a measure to extend the federal funding level for state Medicaid programs.
The Senate voted 61-39 for the bill, pushed by the retail pharmacy lobby and an extension of the higher federal medical assistance percentage that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The House will vote on the measure next week, and both houses must pass the bill in identical form before it goes to president Obama’s desk.
“This enhanced federal funding of state Medicaid programs is important for the prevention of additional cuts to pharmacy services and pharmacy access at the state level,” National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “Pharmacy access is vital to helping patients take their medications correctly, which is essential for maintaining patient health and preventing dramatic increases in long-term healthcare costs, particularly in the treatment of chronic disease.”
In addition to advocating on the bill’s FMAP provisions, the NACDS also lobbied on behalf of pharmacies on the bill’s alteration of the definition of “average manufacturer price,” inserted into the bill to help pay for it. NACDS said it had been advised that the AMP change was not intended to affect Medicaid community pharmacy reimbursement.
“Since the enactment of the new healthcare-reform law, NACDS has emphasized the importance of maintaining a proactive stance for pharmacy as the executive branch implements the law, as well as during any follow-up legislation,” Anderson said. “Ensuring that this definitional change does not impact pharmacy patient care will be a focus on NACDS’ continued vigilance on these issues.”
Drugstore.com extends partnership with Medco Health Solutions
BELLEVUE, Wash. Drugstore.com on Tuesday announced the extension through 2018 of its strategic alliance with Medco Health Solutions.
In 2008, Medco launched its Medco Health Store — an online retail destination offering a wide range of non-prescription consumer health products, including over-the-counter medicines. Drugstore.com supplied technical and operational support for this launch, including fulfillment, distribution and customer care for the Medco-branded online store. Today, the Medco Health Store has grown to include more than 1.4 million registered members.
“Our partnership strategy is a key driver of Drugstore.com’s growth and leverages our leadership in online merchandising and fulfillment in the health and beauty category,” stated Dawn Lepore, CEO and chairman of Drugstore.com. “Medco is a leader in the healthcare and pharmacy industries and we are excited to be extending this relationship.”
“Medco’s partnership with Drugstore.com has enhanced the comprehensive healthcare and pharmacy services we deliver to our clients and their members,” added Tom Moriarty, general counsel, secretary, and SVP, pharmaceutical strategies and solutions, Medco Health Solutions.
In addition to extending the term of the relationship, the economic arrangement between Drugstore.com and Medco has changed, giving Medco more flexibility in pricing and promotions.
Pfizer’s Q2 sales get boost from specialty drugs
NEW YORK Pfizer had a big increase in sales and a modest increase in profits during second quarter 2010, according to a financial statement released Tuesday.
The world’s largest drug maker had $17.3 billion in sales and $2.5 billion in profits, compared with $11 billion in sales and $2.3 billion in profits in second quarter 2009, representing respective increases of 58% and 9%.
The increase in sales included a 165% increase in sales of specialty drugs, from $1.4 billion in second quarter 2009 to $3.8 billion this quarter, stemming from Pfizer’s purchase of Wyeth. Cancer drug sales decreased by 2%, from $355 million to $349 million, while primary care drugs increased from $5.2 billion to $5.9 billion, and established products increased from $1.7 billion to $2.7 billion. Biotech drug sales increased from $10 billion to $15 billion.