PHARMACY

Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie add medication synchronization service

BY Michael Johnsen

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Bi-Lo on Thursday announced that all in-store pharmacies now offer “Refill Sync,” a free service that synchronizes customers’ maintenance medication prescriptions so that all scripts — regardless of refill dates — can be filled at the same time.

“We know our customers don’t have time to make multiple trips to the pharmacy each month to pick up their prescriptions,” stated John Fegan, Bi-Lo VP pharmacy. “With Refill Sync, it makes no difference when scripts were originally prescribed, we can synchronize them all.”

Customers must opt into the Refill Sync program. Once enrolled, customers choose the most convenient date for prescriptions to be filled and receive a courtesy call a week before to verify any changes. After the prescriptions have been filled, Bi-Lo pharmacists will call customers to confirm they are ready for pickup. Pharmacists also will provide consultations to customers to discuss any questions, problems or concerns about their health or medication.

This service also is available in all Winn-Dixie pharmacies, which are located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Bi-Lo and Winn-Dixie pharmacies use the same operating system, which allows pharmacists to access a customer’s information at any location.

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PHARMACY

USHCC welcomes Boehringer Ingelheim as strategic partner

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Thursday welcomed Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals to its family of corporate members as a strategic partner. "Boehringer Ingelheim’s commitment to educating the Hispanic community on the impact of chronic disease is particularly noteworthy," the group noted. "Their dedication to community health was highlighted during last year’s launch of a highly successful initiative, in partnership with Univision, that promoted best practices for preventing and treating diabetes. The company seeks to further advance these efforts through its partnership with the USHCC, working with small business owners to encourage healthy living for the benefit of these small firms and their employees."

"The USHCC is proud to welcome an industry leader like Boehringer Ingelheim into our association. Together, we will implement programs that raise awareness of how chronic diseases like diabetes have a negative effect on the productivity and viability of small businesses, and have a deep impact in the Hispanic community as a whole," stated Javier Palomarez, USHCC president and CEO. "At the USHCC, we understand that to effectively serve the business community, our efforts can’t solely be focused on the bottom line. For a business to thrive, it must have a healthy and productive workforce – BIPI understands this imperative, and that is why our partnership is so valuable," he said. "We are delighted that BIPI is also investing in bringing together American leaders from the political and regulatory sectors with our country’s small business owners at the USHCC Legislative Summit, as well as helping convene the largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders at our National Convention." 

"Our association is proud of this new partnership and would like to expand the reach of BIPI’s programs to specifically include the Hispanic business community, so our American entrepreneurs can continue to build businesses that are not only profitable, but most importantly, healthy and sustainable," added USHCC Chairman Emeritus Nina Vaca. 

 

 

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GAO: Federal upper limits 1.4% lower than National Average Drug Acquisition Cost

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — In a report publicly released Thursday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the GAO found that the total draft federal upper limits amount based on the new formula under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was about 1.4% lower than the total National Average Drug Acquisition Cost amount in aggregate for 1,035 outpatient drugs subject to the FUL in first quarter 2013. GAO found large differences between the total PPACA-based FUL amount and the total NADAC amount for generic and for branded generic versions — brand-name drugs with other versions that can be substituted for one another — of the drugs subject to the FUL in first quarter 2013.

GAO found that the total PPACA-based FUL amount for the generic versions was 19% higher than the total NADAC amount, but for the branded generic versions was 26% lower. GAO’s work indicates that CMS is close to having a formula under which FULs would better reflect pharmacy acquisition costs, but continues to apply FULs that were calculated more than 4 years ago. Additionally, the relationship between PPACA-based FULs and NADACs may be affected by several factors, including rebates and discounts that are not reflected on pharmacy invoices. To determine whether GAO’s early results of the relationship between the PPACA-based FULs and the NADACs holds over time will require continued monitoring by CMS, GAO reported.

To develop a national benchmark for retail pharmacy acquisition costs of Medicaid covered outpatient prescription drugs — known as the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost — the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services within the Department of Health and Human Services surveys each month randomly selected retail community pharmacies for invoice data on their actual drug acquisition costs. CMS then calculates an average acquisition cost for each drug based on invoice data received from about 500 to 600 pharmacies. CMS officials expressed confidence in their current process, but noted that some limitations may exist, GAO noted. For example, CMS officials stated the extent to which NADACs reflect rebates and discounts is limited because most occur off-invoice or are not tied to a specific drug purchase. CMS has developed and published more than 5,000 NADACs, which CMS has estimated apply to more than 90% of the drug claims reimbursed by Medicaid.

 

 

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