PHARMACY

AHIP supports strengthened regulation over Part D marketing

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The board of directors of America’s Health Insurance Plans recently called for additional federal regulation and oversight for the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan marketing activities.

The proposal calls for a prohibition of door-to-door marketing, cross-selling, cold calls, and any inducements for beneficiaries to enroll. In addition, the statement calls for strengthening consumer disclosures, verifying that beneficiaries intended to enroll, additional agent and broker training and other protections.

“Seniors need to have complete confidence that they will be given the information they need to make the Medicare coverage decision that is best for them,” Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive officer of AHIP, stated. “Moreover, our members want to ensure that seniors will be given accurate information in an environment that further enhances safeguards to protect beneficiaries from unscrupulous marketing practices.”

The AHIP board also recommended that states be provided with additional tools to monitor sales activities and address market conduct issues.

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Von Eschenbach, Leavitt visit Dr. Reddy’s facility in India

BY DSN STAFF

HYDERABAD, India In January 2008 Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach and Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt visited a Dr. Reddy’s facility near the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s headquarters here.

Leavitt was focused on assuring the quality of the products as well as creating collaborations beyond borders while von Eschenbach, also concerned with the safety and quality of products, focused on the transparency of the manufacturing process.

Dr. Reddy’s was the only facility in India the two visited as part of a multi-national effort to ensure the safety of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

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Congressional report estimates CMS changes would cost states $50 billion in federal aid

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON According to a congressional report prepared by the Democratic staff on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, proposed changes to Medicaid would cost states about $50 billion in federal aid over the next five years, the Associated Press reported.

“As the economy tips into recession, the last thing we should be doing is taking federal funds from states, especially funds that are supposed to help people with their health and medical expenses,” said committee chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Federal officials, though, are arguing that the changes are designed to ensure that providers don’t bill the program for more than costs of providing care and also say that the states pay their fare share of the program.

Tthe proposed new rules include limiting Medicaid public hostpital reimbursement to no more than the cost of providing a particular service. Another would prohibit billing Medicaid for the costs of medical interns and residents.

Overall, the federal government will spend more than $1.2 trillion on Medicaid over the next five years. The administration projects that if all the changes it seeks were enacted, the federal government would save about $13 billion over those five years.

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