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CADCA, CHPA mobilize for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association are mobilizing communities to stop prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, the groups announced Monday.

Each October, CADCA and CHPA team up for National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, challenging CADCA’s nearly 5,000 community antidrug coalitions across the country to hold a town hall or other educational event about teen prescription and OTC medicine abuse. The goal is to hold events in 50 communities, an annual call to action that is known as the CADCA 50 Challenge. Through this initiative, parents in communities across the country can more easily access the resources they need to prevent their teens from abusing medicine.

"Community coalition leaders across this country have been addressing medicine abuse for many years now in a comprehensive, holistic manner, bringing everyone to the table to help educate parents, protect kids and solve this significant problem," stated Gen. Arthur Dean, CADCA chairman and CEO. "But communities cannot go it alone; they need state and national support — and that’s why I’m so proud of our long-standing collaboration with CHPA and their members. Working together, I know we can drive medicine abuse rates down."

CADCA is a partner of CHPA’s StopMedicineAbuse campaign, which raises parental awareness about OTC cough medicine abuse. "Parents often have no idea that teens can abuse medicines in their home," CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville said. "By taking an integrated approach that includes mobilizing local communities, educating parents to safeguard their home medicines, and informing teens themselves about the dangers of medicine abuse, we can help curb this teen behavior."

Melville noted that the awareness month is also an opportunity to increase support for the Preventing Abuse of Cough Treatments (PACT) Act of 2012 (S. 3376) that would prohibit the sale of OTC cough medicines containing dextromethorphan to teens under the age of 18.

@CADCA and @StopMedAbuse will co-host a Twitter chat about medicine abuse prevention on Oct. 9 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST. Use the hashtag #PreventMedAbuse to participate in the live discussion.


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Former J&J chairman, CEO passes away

BY Allison Cerra

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Former Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO James Burke passed away Sept. 28. He was 87 years old.

Burke, who served Johnson & Johnson for 37 years — 16 years as president and 13 years as chairman and CEO — helped the company experience noteworthy growth: The company’s sales grew more than threefold to $9 billion; net income increased nearly fivefold; its market capitalization nearly tripled; and it expanded its presence from 37 to 54 countries, all while focusing on meeting significant unmet needs of patients and the company] as a global, healthcare concern, Burke’s career will likely be best remembered for his steady leadership of the company during the Tylenol poisonings in 1982 and 1986."

Among his achievements, Burke also was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his corporate and civic leadership by President Bill Clinton in 2000.

For a chronology of Burke’s career, click here.


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RxAlly to debut Medicare Prescription Drug Plan this season

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND — More than 20,000 RxAlly member pharmacies — including independent pharmacies, regional chains and Walgreens — will begin accepting a new federally qualified Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, SmartD Rx, beginning Jan. 1, 2013. Developed by Smart Insurance Company with the input of pharmacists, SmartD Rx will be offered to beneficiaries for the first time this fall during Medicare’s open enrollment period. 

“RxAlly and its member pharmacies are ideally suited to partner with SmartD Rx to serve the prescription drug needs of Medicare beneficiaries,” stated Bruce Roberts, CEO of RxAlly. 

“SmartD Rx is designed to meet the ever-changing needs of the current 48 million Medicare population segment and serve the 10,000-plus individuals in the U.S. population who turn 65 every day,” stated Pritpal Virdee, Smart Insurance Company CEO. Smart Insurance Company was formed to find innovative solutions that allow seniors and their caregivers to better understand and take advantage of the prescription drug coverage options available in today’s healthcare marketplace, according to Virdee.   

SmartD Rx will be available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The plan offers $0 co-pays for preferred generic medications at preferred network pharmacies, low premium options and the convenience and cost savings of 90-day prescription refills at retail. Additionally, qualified seniors will be able to receive comprehensive medication therapy management services from their community pharmacy.

SmartD Rx also provides licensed plan representatives to the RxAlly network of more than 20,000 pharmacies. These licensed plan representatives will be available to help consumers navigate the nuances of Medicare Part D and provide on-the-spot answers to questions that may arise about Medicare’s prescription drug plans.

SmartD Rx has two plan options available: SmartD Rx Saver and SmartD Rx Plus. Both plans offer seniors $0 member co-pays for preferred generic medications and lower co-pays for all medications at Preferred Network pharmacies. Neither plan has a mail-order option, but both offer a 90-day supply of medication at retail pharmacies with a discounted co-pay compared to a 30-day supply. SmartD Rx Plus offers additional options to minimize out-of-pocket costs and greater levels of coverage with no deductible for a higher premium. 

Additional features of SmartD Rx Saver and SmartD Rx Plus include no annual deductible for SmartD Rx Plus and a $325 annual deductible for SmartD Rx Saver. And coinsurance fees are calculated on a tiered system based on the type of drugs needed, ranging from $0 co-pay for preferred generic drugs to 25% of the cost of the prescription for specialty drugs needed for complex or rare conditions.

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