PHARMACY

Study shows Mass. plan drops uninsurance rate, decreases expenses

BY Drew Buono

CHICAGO According to a study performed by the Urban Institute, the uninsurance rate for Massachusetts adults has dropped by more than half and residents were paying less in out-of-pocket health expenses, as reported by the Associated Press.

Researchers from the institute interviewed 3,000 Massachusetts residents in the fall of 2006, just before the law took effect, and conducted a second round of interviews a year later. The uninsurance rate among working age adults dropped from 13 to 7 percent. The biggest drop was among poorer residents.

The finding reflects the fact that nearly 350,000 residents have been added to the ranks of the insured in Massachusetts under the law, which created a subsidized health care program for those earning less than three times the federal poverty level.

The share of adults reporting out-of-pocket expenses of more than $500 dropped by four percent. The percent of low-income adults reporting out-of-pocket expenses of more than $3,000 fell eight percent.

In another positive finding, low-income adults were more likely to have a place to go when they were sick and were more likely to visit a doctor for preventative care.

One fear—that employers would begin dropping health coverage as the new law took effect—hasn’t materialized, according to the report.

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FDA issues third approvable letter for Wyeth’s bazedoxifene

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Wyeth Pharmaceuticals’ new drug for treating postmenopausal osteoporosis has hit another speed bump.

The Food and Drug Administration sent a third approvable letter to Wyeth for the drug bazedoxifene pending analyses about the incidence of stroke and venal thrombosis in patients who use it. The FDA made a similar request in a letter sent in December.

Merck reported that its postmenopausal osteoporosis drug Fosamax (alendronate sodium) had worldwide sales of $3.05 billion in 2007.

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Longs plans drive-through windows at Hawaiian locations

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Longs Drug Stores plans to open drive-through windows at some of its stores in Hawaii, the company announced recently.

The drugstore chain, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., will add a drive-through window to its store in Maui later this year. The new store it plans to open in Honolulu will also have a window.

Walgreens, which recently opened its first locations in Hawaii, credits itself with inventing the concept of the drugstore with a drive-through pharmacy more than 15 years ago.

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