PHARMACY

Walmart to sell hypertension drugs for 1 cent

BY Alaric DeArment

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Members of a prescription drug program offered by Humana to Medicare beneficiaries will soon be able to obtain hypertension drugs from Walmart for a penny.

That’s right: $0.01.

Walmart and Humana said that starting in 2013, members of the Humana-Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan would have access to 10 drugs for high blood pressure for 1 cent each when filled at a Walmart or Sam’s Club store. The companies said the price meant members would pay that much for them through all phases of their benefit, regardless of whether they have met their deductibles or are in the coverage gap.

"We are committed to making pharmaceuticals more affordable so our customers can ultimately live healthier lives," Walmart health and wellness division president John Agwunobi said. "The Humana-Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan will help eliminate out-of-pocket costs for high blood pressure treatments so more patients can follow the regimen prescribed by their physicians."

The drugs offered under the program are lisinopril, hydrochlorothiazide, metoprolol tartrate, atenolol, lisinopril-hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide, enalapril maleate, benazepril, nadolol and captopril.

"A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that close to 70% of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older have hypertension," Humana Pharmacy Solutions president William Fleming said, citing a CDC National Center for Health Statistics study released in May. "This statistic underscores the importance of offering affordable, high-quality prescription drugs to baby boomers and other beneficiaries as part of the Humana-Walmart Preferred Rx Plan."


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B.BEAMS says:
Nov-14-2012 10:21 am

Are there no State and Federal laws to prohibit a pharmacy from selling prescription medicines below their cost? I thought there were to keep large corporations, like Walmart, from running independents out of business.

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FDA panel recommends approval for Novartis Cushing’s disease drug

BY Alaric DeArment

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — A Food and Drug Administration expert panel has voted unanimously in favor of approval for a Novartis drug for a rare endocrine disorder.

Novartis said the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted to support approval for Signifor (i.e., pasireotide) for patients with Cushing’s disease who require medical therapeutic intervention. Cushing’s disease is a form of Cushing’s syndrome that affects one- to two-in-1 million people per year, and results from excessive amounts of the metabolic hormone cortisol — resulting in weight gain, severe fatigue, depression and anxiety and other symptoms.

"We are encouraged by today’s favorable advisory committee recommendation for pasireotide in Cushing’s disease and will work closely with the FDA as it completes its review of our application," Novartis Oncology president Herve Hoppenot said. "There is a significant unmet medical need for Cushing’s disease patients, and Novartis is committed to providing the endocrinology community with a novel therapeutic approach for this rare and debilitating endocrine disorder."

FDA advisory committee recommendations are not binding, and the FDA is not required to follow them when deciding whether to approve a drug, but usually does.


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FDA accepts Merck application for insomnia drug

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has accepted an application from Merck for an experimental drug for insomnia, the drug maker said Thursday.

Merck announced the the FDA’s acceptance of its regulatory filing for suvorexant, which the FDA’s Controlled Substances Staff will review while the agency is reviewing the application.

"The discovery and development of innovative medicines that help patients is our goal at Merck, and insomnia is a common disorder where patients are seeking new treatments," Merck Research Labs SVP and franchise head for neuroscience and ophthalmology Darryle Schoepp said. "Suvorexant is a novel mechanism for the treatment of insomnia, and the filing of suvorexant is a novel mechanism for the treatment of insomnia, and the filing of suvorexant is an example of Merck’s commitment to patients and to scientific excellence."


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