Call to Congress to reject mail for Tricare comes at critical time as pharmacy, PBM war heats up
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The call to Congress to reject budget proposals that would increase co-pays for prescription medications at community pharmacies for Tricare patients is important as the war between the pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager lobbies heats up.
(THE NEWS: NACDS, NCPA urge Congress to reject proposal that discourages Tricare patients’ use of community pharmacies. For the full story, click here.)
As the articles states, the call to action by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association aims to strike down a provision in the governments FY 2013 budget that would increase co-pays for prescription medications at community pharmacies for Tricare patients, but lower co-pays for prescriptions filled via mail order.
Such a policy would not only impose higher-out-of-pocket costs on Tricare beneficiaries and reduce access to care, but it is especially important to win the hearts and minds in Washington right now, as the clock ticks on the FTC’s decision over ESI-Medco.
Meanwhile, one big payer has weighed on the side of patient access when the state of Nebraska announced that it would leave ESI to stick with Walgreens. Reports indicated that Nebraska officials will switch health insurance carriers, as of July 1, from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to United Healthcare. A key reason for the switch: State employees want access to Walgreens pharmacies. More than half of the 15,000 state employees and 30,000 dependents presently have their prescriptions filled at a Walgreens pharmacy, according to reports. Plus, the move is expected to save $8 million per year.
Pfizer cancer drug hits BioPlus’ shelves
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — A specialty pharmacy provider has begun selling a drug made by Pfizer for treating kidney cancer.
The company announced that it had launched Inlyta (axitinib), which the Food and Drug Administration approved last month for treating renal cell carcinoma in patients with advanced disease for whom first-line systemic therapy has failed. According to the American Cancer Society, 60,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with the disease each year, and 13,000 die.
"BioPlus has extensive expertise in launching cancer therapy medications, and we are thrilled to be in the select group with access to this limited drug that offers hope to patients with RCC," BioPlus director of pharmaceutical contracting Sharon Ferrer said.
Pfizer granted another specialty provider, Phoenix-based The Apothecary Shops, distribution rights for Inlyta earlier this month.
Fougera names SVP commercial operations
MELVILLE, N.Y. — Fougera Pharmaceuticals has promoted Walt Kaczmarek to serve as the company’s SVP commercial operations, the drug maker announced.
Kaczmarek, who joined the company in 2004, has been managing national accounts for Fougera’s three marketing divisions, including Fougera, PharmaDerm, and Savage Labs, for the past eight years. He recently began managing accounts for the managed care markets of Fougera’s branded division PharmaDerm, Fougera said.
”Walt has been an integral part of the steady growth of Fougera Pharmaceuticals,” said David Klaum, SVP, general manager at Fougera. “Walt has demonstrated his dedication to this company and its customers, and I am confident that he’ll continue to play a key role in our pursuit of increased business opportunities.”