PHARMACY

Congressman saluted by HDMA

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Healthcare Distribution Management Association on Tuesday honored Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., with its Rx Safety and Healthcare Leadership Award. The award recognizes public officials for their leadership and commitment to policies that support and promote the safe and efficient delivery of medicines.

Shimkus has been a consistent supporter of policies that enhance healthcare supply chain security and efficiency, the association stated. For example, he is an original co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation (H.R. 905) to correct the treatment of prompt pay discounts under the Medicare Part B average sales price reimbursement metric for prescription drugs and biologics. The legislation would enhance patient access to these medications and increase supply chain efficiencies that distributors provide to the healthcare system when servicing physicians who participate in the Part B program, HDMA noted.

“Congressman Shimkus recognizes the critical role of HDMA distributors, who not only deliver lifesaving medications safely and efficiently, but [also] save the nation’s healthcare system $32 billion annually,” stated HDMA president and CEO John Gray.

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Rite Aid’s pharmacy sales, Rxs filled rise

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Total and front-end same-store sales at Rite Aid decreased during March, while pharmacy sales and prescriptions filled increased, the pharmacy retailer said Thursday.

Compared with last year, front-end same-store sales decreased by 1.8% during the four-week period that ended March 26, which the 4,711-store chain attributed to Easter falling on a later date this year, April 24, than last year, when it occurred on April 4.

Meanwhile, pharmacy sales increased by 0.8%. This included a slight negative effect from the availability of new generics. Prescriptions increased by 0.6%.

Total drug store sales decreased by 0.9% to about $1.95 billion, compared with $1.97 billion in March 2010. Prescription sales accounted for 69.4% of sales, while third-party prescription sales accounted for 96.5% of pharmacy sales.

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Veteran diabetics experience less complications, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Patients that have been handling their diabetes for a long time are less likely to experience complications, according to a new study conducted by Joslin Diabetes Center researchers.

Among 351 participants in the "Joslin 50-Year Medalist Study," researchers found that among veteran Type 1 diabetics — who have been living with the condition for 50 years or more — 43% were free from advanced diabetic eye complications, while 87% were free from kidney disease, 39% were free from nerve disease and 52% were free from cardiovascular disease.

The data "are strong evidence that protective molecular, physiologic or genetic mechanisms in these fortunate individuals fight against the toxic effects of high blood sugars over many decades," said Jennifer Sun, author of one of the papers, which was published in Diabetes Care.

"Insights from the ‘Medalist Study’ are great motivators for patients who have just been diagnosed with diabetes or are early in the disease, particularly younger kids and adolescents," Sun said. "We can tell these patients that we encourage them to control their blood sugars and get their recommended diabetes care, because they can live many decades with excellent vision and the chance to avoid other severe complications."

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