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Seniors express satisfaction with preferred pharmacy networks in PCMA-commissioned survey

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A recent survey commissioned on behalf of a pharmacy benefit manager trade group found a high degree of satisfaction among Medicare Part D beneficiaries with preferred pharmacy plans.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association announced results of the survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates, which found that 85% of seniors were satisfied with their plans and 80% would be disappointed if the plan were eliminated. Meanwhile, 81% expressed satisfaction with the convenience of pharmacies in their network, and nearly three-quarters were satisfied with the number of pharmacies. The survey, conducted earlier this month, included 400 Medicare Part D beneficiaries, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9%.

But the National Community Pharmacists Association, a trade group representing independent pharmacies, noted that the plans often exclude their members. Last week, more than a dozen senators wrote a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services director Marilyn Tavenner expressing concern about the exclusion of small and medium-sized pharmacies from preferred pharmacy networks and calling for more oversight over them. Exclusion from the networks meant that the pharmacies were unable to offer comparable costs for seniors to fill prescriptions, creating a risk of higher Medicare Part D costs in addition to diminished access for seniors in rural areas. In addition, 31 members of the House of Representatives wrote to CMS about similar concerns that Medicare beneficiaries and small business owners had expressed.

According to the NCPA, preferred networks become particularly problematic in rural areas, were seniors may have to travel 20 miles or more to get to pharmacies included in the networks.

 

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Mass and drug channels are top locations for beauty and hygiene

BY Michael Johnsen

The purchase of personal products is most often made at locations of convenience and health destinations — mass merchandisers and drug stores — according to an online survey of almost 700 AccentHealth viewers conducted in April. Showing signs for further growth, 69% of respondents indicated they would make a personal product purchase at a drug store in the future.

To see more Patient Views, click here

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine, as well as the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 6,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected].

 

Source: AccentHealth. To view the demographic breakdown of participants, click here.

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Kerr Drug introduces Simplify My Meds synchronized-prescription program

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — Kerr Drug has introduced a new prescription-synchronization service, the retail pharmacy chain said Monday.

Kerr, a regional chain based in Raleigh, N.C., announced the introduction of the new Simplify My Meds synchronized prescription refill service. The service uses the chain’s new central-fill center in Kerr, and the company said it hoped the program would solidify customer loyalty by increasing convenience.

"We have been moving beyond a simple dispensing model, which is critical in keeping pace with the changing retail pharmacy world, as well as how our patients interact with it," Kerr Drug CEO Tony Civello said. "That is why we have already deployed programs like auto refill, mobile app, text messaging and now Simplify My Meds. We must not only find technologies to maximize the utilization of our pharmacist resources, but be reachable how and where our customer needs to be."

Customers can request to have a pharmacist enroll them in the program, pick a convenient date each month and ensure that their prescriptions will be ready for pickup on time. They also will have access to free consultations each month for any concerns about medications.

The company announced the opening of the central fill operation in Raleigh in February, under a partnership with PDX and ScriptPro.

 

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