CVS Health headquarters
PHARMACY

CVS Health unveils Rx cost-saving initiative

BY Marianne Wilson

CVS Health has launched an ambitious initiative to help patients tackle the rising costs of prescription drugs.

The centerpiece of the program is the CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder — a tool that the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company said would offer more transparency at CVS pharmacy counters. It will enable the company’s 30,000 pharmacists to check for prescription savings opportunities right at the counter. Pharmacists will be able to quickly review a patient’s prescription regimen, medication history and insurance plan information to determine the best way for them to save money on out-of-pocket costs under their pharmacy benefits plan, CVS Health said.

“Today’s consumers are faced with higher prescription drug prices than ever before and many of them are now paying for a larger share of their prescription drug costs out of their own pockets at the pharmacy counter due to growth in high deductible health plans,” said Thomas Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, CVS Health. “Until now, patients haven’t had the appropriate tools available to them to help them manage these costs.”

The Rx Savings Finder will show the pharmacist if the prescribed medication is on the patient’s plan and is the lowest cost option available, and if there are lower-cost options covered under the patient’s pharmacy benefit such as a generic medication. It will also show any cost savings that may be gained from a 90-day fill over a 30-day one, whether a generic or lower-cost alternative available, and other potential savings options for eligible or uninsured patients where allowed.

CVS Health said that experience has shown that patients who are confronted with high out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter are less likely to pick up their prescriptions and are less likely to be adherent to their prescribed therapy. The company will launch the new system initially with its CVS Caremark PBM members, and roll it out more broadly throughout the year.

“Armed with the information available through our Rx Savings Finder, our more than 30,000 CVS pharmacists can play an important role by helping patients save money on their medications, providing advice on how and when to take them, and ultimately helping them achieve better health outcomes,” said Kevin Hourican, executive vice president of retail pharmacy for CVS Pharmacy.

CVS has also introduced new ways doctors of their customers can see drug costs in real time through a program available in the physician’s office that allows prescribers to pick lower cost medicines.

The new prescription cost-saving program comes as CVS is in the process of completing its acquisition of Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurance company.

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Cipla launches authorized Aloxi generic

BY David Salazar

Cipla USA has introduced its authorized Aloxi generic (palonosetron hydrochloride 0.25 mg/5 ml) through its agreements with Helsinn Healthcare, maker of the branded product.

The drug is indicated to treat and prevent acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. The company said that its authorized Aloxi generic was available to ship immediately.

The drug had U.S. sales of roughly $460 million for the 12 months ended November 2017.

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AAM adopts ethics code for members

BY David Salazar

The Association for Accessible Medicines has established a code of business ethics for its members that manufacture generic drugs and biosimilars. The Washington, D.C.-based generics advocacy organization’s board of directors unanimously adopted the code, which sets up certain ethical and business standards and takes effect Sept. 1.

“The AAM Code of Business Ethics stands out from other pharmaceutical industry codes because of AAM’s clear recognition of the ethical value of access to medicines for patients,” AAM president and CEO Chip Davis said. “Our new code also prioritizes market competition as a driving force. The practices discussed in the AAM code represent behaviors and conduct that AAM companies have been demonstrating for many years.”

Though the AAM said it also endorses such international ethics guidelines as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Mexico City Principles on Voluntary Codes of Business Ethics int he Biopharmaceutical Sector, it noted that some member companies are separate from the global branded drug manufacturer signatories to that framework.

AAM’s ethics code includes general provisions about  guidelines about medicine safety, competition and clinical trials, among other elements, as well as sections about companies’ relationships to healthcare professionals.

“We must never take the ethics of healthcare access for granted,” the ethics code says. “Our companies believe in our ethical mission, and AAM’s Board of Directors has approved this Code. AAM looks forward to working with all stakeholders to expand access to generic and biosimilar medicines — the proven, reliable way to drive down the cost of medicine, which helps patients, strengthens our economy, and benefits our society.”

 

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