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Texas congressman urges HHS to reject state’s Medicaid-managed care company partnership

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A congressman from Texas is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to reject an attempt by the Texas state government to move millions of Medicaid prescription drug beneficiaries into managed care plans.

Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, head of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation, said the move would harm small pharmacies that cater to Medicaid beneficiaries and leave many patients without access to pharmacy services by reducing pharmacy dispensing fees to far below the average pharmacy’s cost of dispensing each prescription.

In particular, according to a letter to HHS, Doggett wrote that Navitus Health Solutions, the PBM with which the Texas Health and Human Services Commission contracted, required all pharmacies in its Medicaid network to accept a non-negotiable dispensing fee of $1.35 per prescription — 88% below the average pharmacy’s cost — despite a state-sponsored study that found the average cost of dispensing a prescription in Texas in 2011 was $11.27.

"Turning Medicaid prescription drug benefits over to private managed care companies will harm patient access and push hundreds of pharmacies out of Medicaid or out of business," Doggett said. "This will deny access to vital prescriptions for many of our neighbors and hurt small businesses that play a vital role in health care."

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Dr. Reddy’s launches generic Alzheimer’s drug

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Dr. Reddy’s Labs has launched a drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease, the company said.

Dr. Reddy’s announced the launch of rivastigmine tartrate capsules in the 1.5-mg, 3-mg, 4.5-mg and 6-mg strengths.

The drug is a generic version of Novartis’ Exelon. Exelon and other generic versions of the drug had sales of about $92.6 million during the 12-month period ended in June, according to IMS Health.

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Toys”R”Us unwraps annual holiday hot toy list

BY DSN STAFF

WAYNE, N.J. — Toys“R”Us announced this week its top toy list for the holiday season.

This year’s list, which features new items for kids of all ages, includes:

  • Air Hogs Hyper Actives from Spin Master;

  • Air Swimmers eXtreme from Animal Planet;

  • Lalaloopsy Silly Hair dolls from MGA Entertainment;

  • LeapPad Explorer from LeapFrog;

  • Monster High Fearleading 3-Pack from Mattel;

  • Moshi Monsters Moshling 3-Pack Mini-Figures from Spin Master;

  • My Keepon from Wow! Stuff;

  • Nerf Vortex Vigilon from Hasbro;

  • Ninjago Lightning Dragon Battle from Lego;

  • Poppin’ Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper from Playskool;

  • Power Wheels Dune Racer from Fisher-Price;

  • Radica Fijit Friends from Mattel;

  • Sesame Street Let’s Rock! Elmo from Hasbro;

  • Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure from Activision; and

  • The Trash Pack Garbage Truck from Moose Toys.

"There are so many really terrific new toys available this year, so narrowing down the list of top toys was fun, but challenging," Toys"R"Us SVP and chief merchandising officer Karen Dodge said. "The Toys"R"Us 2011 holiday hot toy list highlights what we expect will be the most sought-after items this holiday season and the ones that will yield squeals of delight when kids tear off the wrapping paper on Christmas morning."

In related news, Kmart also unveiled its top toy list this week. 

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