PHARMACY

Bipartisan Senate bill aims to enhance MTM services for seniors

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Senate has introduced legislation to improve medication therapy management services for senior citizens enrolled in the Medicare program.

S.776, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2015, was introduced by Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., co-chair of the Senate Diabetes Caucus; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, member of the Senate Finance Committee; and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  

The bipartisan legislation received a nod from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. 

The legislation would amend the Social Security Act to allow Medicare Part D beneficiaries to become eligible for MTM services if they suffer from a single chronic condition that has been shown to respond well to improved medication adherence, resulting in better health outcomes and reduced overall medical costs. Specifically, the bill would provide access to MTM services for beneficiaries with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and high cholesterol.

Health policy research group NEHI cites that only 50% of patients take their medications properly as prescribed by their doctor, which costs the nation more than $290 billion annually in avoidable health spending annually. 

There is overwhelming support showing that MTM improves medication adherence, including specific research showing the benefits for patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, COPD and high cholesterol.
 
In 2014, the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) studied the effects of medication adherence on the Medicare program and found that patients newly diagnosed with congestive heart failure showed significant medical side savings.

In addition, a 2013 study by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found that in comparison to Medicare beneficiaries with COPD or congestive heart failure who did not receive any MTM services in 2010, those who were enrolled in MTM programs  experienced significant improvements in the quality of their drug regimens and costs were saved. The results were particularly impressive for those who received annual comprehensive medication reviews.

A 2013 study of published research on medication adherence, conducted by Avalere, concluded that patients who are adherent to their medications have more favorable health outcomes such as reduced mortality and use fewer healthcare services, especially hospital readmissions and emergency room visits.  

The Congressional Budget Office found “estimates that a 1% increase in the number of prescriptions filled by beneficiaries would cause Medicare’s spending on medical services to fall by roughly one-fifth of 1%.”  In real world terms, CBO's analysis means that, nationwide, a one percent increase in overall prescription drug utilization would lead to an overall decrease of $1.7 billion in overall healthcare costs, or a savings of $5.76 for every person in the United States.

“The evidence is mounting of the positive impact of MTM on patient health. Innovative pharmacist-provided services such as MTM are important tools in improving medication adherence, patient health and healthcare affordability,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.  “We commend the leadership of Senators Roberts, Shaheen, Brown and Kirk for their leadership in proposing this commonsense, bipartisan legislation that can help Medicare patients with chronic conditions understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed, and help manage and improve their health.”

“We have recognized the value of pharmacists in the health system for many years. They are especially valuable for our Kansas communities and are sometimes the only health provider in our rural towns.” stated Roberts. “MTM is an important tool in the pharmacists’ tool box for many patients but especially for those suffering from chronic conditions. The Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act gives patients access to valuable counseling and management for their conditions, and takes the essential steps to guarantee what we already know: that MTM will save the system money while providing higher quality care for patients. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation.”

“Our bipartisan bill has the potential to improve care for seniors who need it the most while also reducing healthcare costs for our system as a whole,” Shaheen stated. “Providing seniors with better access to counseling when it comes to the safe and proper use of their medication should be a matter of commonsense. It will make sure seniors are not only taking their medications properly but does so in a way that lowers healthcare costs.”

 

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PHARMACY

Cystic fibrosis treatment now available through Diplomat Pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

FLINT, Mich. — As part of a limited panel, Diplomat Pharmacy will offer PARI’s cystic fibrosis treatment Kitabis Pak, a 28-day supply of Tobramycin Inhalation Solution together with a PARI LC Plus nebulizer handset, the specialty pharmacy operator announced Tuesday.
 
Kitabis Pak is an FDA-approved drug-and-device combination for cystic fibrosis, and the first to use nebulized tobramycin, an inhalable antibiotic. 
 
“This unique offering can simplify the process for prescribers and patients facing cystic fibrosis,” said Gary Kadlec, president of Diplomat. “Now, physicians can write a single prescription and be sure their patients are receiving their treatments with the nebulizer handset used during the pivotal clinical trials. We’re excited to be able to offer it, for improved access, adherence and efficacy.”
 
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HRG to present to Campbell University pharmacy students for seventh consecutive year

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

Hamacher Resource Group's Tom Boyer

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group has announced that Tom Boyer will present to first-year students in the Pharmacy Practice program at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., for the seventh consecutive year.

On March 25, Boyer, a 20-plus-year veteran of the retail consumer healthcare industry, director of national accounts, and member of the owners group at HRG, will discuss the retail pharmacy side of the business, including pharmacy layout and front-of-store merchandising principles.


Boyer’s connection with Campbell University began through his relationship with Mutual Drug, Durham, N.C., which has been an HRG client for 33 years and Hamacher’s first wholesaler client. Boyer learned of Mutual Drug’s relationship with Campbell University, among other pharmacy schools it supports, back in 2008. Boyer, who conducts CE sessions for pharmacists at industry events, offered guest lecturer support to the pharmacy school and has been asked back every spring.

“I’m glad we could facilitate this long-standing relationship between HRG and the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences at Campbell University. We believe it’s important to expose future pharmacists to the business aspects of running a pharmacy — both the opportunities and challenges,” stated David Moody, Mutual Drug CEO.

Boyer added, “It has been a pleasure to present to a new class of pharmacy students each year. I enjoy hearing their perspectives and getting their feedback. I’m grateful that Mutual Drug brought this opportunity forward and that we can help support something we both are passionate about.”

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