PHARMACY

Anderson: Reform creates wellness ‘renaissance’

BY Antoinette Alexander

PALM BEACH, Fla. The collective efforts by the industry to create value have given way to a “health-and-wellness renaissance.” That was a key message that Steve Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS, had for attendees of Sunday’s business program.

“It is creating a rebirth. Let’s call it a health-and-wellness renaissance with innovations focused on patients and consumers,” said Anderson during his state of the association address.

Anderson touched upon the recent successes the industry has achieved as it relates to the twists and turns of healthcare reform and stressed that it presented a vital platform for NACDS to express the importance of pharmacy and the critical role pharmacy plays in the U.S. healthcare system. NACDS seized the moment, and the efforts did not fall on deaf ears among members of Congress, said Anderson.

“We realized that we had to stop whining and start winning. We realized that we couldn’t just go into Congressional offices and say what we were against,” said Anderson. “We had to describe the way that pharmacy improves lives and saves long-term healthcare costs.”

The achievements were not only rhetorical but also tangible (i.e. advancements in MTM, DME and AMP).

“The preliminary injunction won by NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association has blocked $5.5 million in cuts to pharmacy each day that are results of the deficit reduction act and the subsequent AMP rule,” Anderson said. “Our injunction has saved more than $4.6 billion in cuts to pharmacy from Jan. 1, 2008, to today.”

Looking ahead, healthcare reform will bode well for the industry, Anderson told attendees. Not only will there be an addition of 32 million people to the ranks of the insured as a result of the new healthcare law but, according to preliminary NACDS research, the increase in patients with healthcare coverage will result in between 90 million and 116 million new prescriptions per year in 2016 and beyond.

“I am completely convinced that people will look back 20 to 30 years from now and see these times — our times — as a historic watershed moment,” Anderson said.

In wrapping up his remarks, Anderson announced that the NACDS Foundation is contributing $150,000 to assist in the Haiti relief effort. The contributions include $50,000 each to organizations that have been immersed in this work since the January earthquake: Doctors Without Borders, AmeriCares and Convoy of Hope.

Anderson’s comments came on the heels of presentations by Jeffery Stone, global president and chief customer officer for Johnson & Johnson, and Andy Giancamilli, CEO of Rexall Pharma Plus and outgoing NACDS chairman. Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, served as the keynote speaker.

Stone touched upon the opportunities that exist for retailers and suppliers in today’s challenging environment, such as taking share from competitors, taking value from trade partners and collaborating to create more value.

Meanwhile, Giancamilli summarized his tenure and reflected on three “positive lessons” that hit him during his tenure as NACDS chairman: NACDS is a member-driven association in the true sense, the association unites us more than divides us and the association is creating a legacy of greater success for the future. He highlighted the importance of getting involved and the successes of the first and second annual NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill, held in 2009 and in March 2010.

“These are thoughts that I think can be put into action to allow you to even get more from your investment in NACDS, and they are thoughts that I think can help NACDS get even stronger for your ultimate benefit,” Giancamilli said.

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CVS Caremark forges ahead with medication adherence initiatives

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Underscoring the vital role that pharmacists play in the U.S. healthcare system are the findings of the recent CVS Caremark study, which found many patients believe that their specialty pharmacy team plays an important role in medication adherence. There’s a $300 billion reason why this is important.

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark: Patients believe specialty pharmacy team encourages medication adherence. For the full story, click here)

It is no secret that medication adherence is a major problem facing the industry and is draining billions of dollars out of the already-fragile U.S. healthcare system. A lack of medication adherence is frequently at the root of preventable hospitalizations and patient illness and the resulting costs to the U.S. healthcare system have been estimated to be about $300 billion annually.

CVS Caremark has been hard at work embarking on an array of research initiatives to try and find ways to improve medication adherence and, as a result, help patients live healthier lives. For example, at the recent 22nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, CVS Caremark presented study findings that showed pharmacy benefit managers can employ a variety of tools to encourage medication adherence and close key therapy gaps. Now, CVS Caremark has set its sights on specialty pharmacy.

Adherence is especially important for specialty pharmacy because, as the article states, specialty pharmaceuticals are typically injectable or infused drugs requiring special handling and used in the management of chronic, rare and complex conditions including as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. Because these medications are often expensive, generally require special handling, require training for proper administration and can cause bothersome side effects, patients can face many barriers to medication adherence and persistency.

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NACDS hails Sen. Grassley’s targeting of rogue ‘phantom pharmacies’

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A group catering to the drug retailing industry thanked Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, for addressing the government’s need to crack down on “’phantom pharmacies’ that defraud Medicare and other public health programs.”

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores sent a letter to Grassley, following the senator’s letter to the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, regarding fraud committed by the so-called pharmacies.

“As the national trade association representing one of the most respected and reputable industries in the healthcare system, we strongly support efforts to identify and rid health insurance programs of such pernicious behavior,” wrote NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson, in his letter to Sen. Grassley. “These so-called pharmacies not only damage the reputation of our highly trusted industry, but they also take advantage of innocent seniors and the American taxpayer. Therefore, we commend your efforts.”

NACDS added that industries at high risk for fraud — particularly, the healthcare industry — should be protected by anti-fraud programs.

The complete letter is available here.

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