Crisis averted: NACDS, NCPA get their wish
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Retail pharmacies scored a big victory in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule, which puts the kibosh on pricing policies that would have severely affected retail pharmacies’ ability to make money from generic drugs, and thus forced them to turn away Medicaid patients.
(THE NEWS: NACDS, NCPA claim pharmacy victory after withdrawal of Medicaid program provisions. For the full story, click here)
The average manufacturer price provisions would have caused pharmacies to lose money every time they dispensed Medicaid prescriptions for generic drugs. By contrast, the healthcare-reform law, passed last year and signed into law in March, sets FULs on Medicaid reimbursements at 175% of AMP, which National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson cited as an improvement.
Luckily, in November 2007, the NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association obtained an injunction against the provisions. As a result, according to the NACDS, pharmacies have saved more than $5.3 billion in cuts since then. The injunction also prevented the closure of more than 11,000 pharmacies that otherwise would have had to stop serving low-income patients or would have had to dispense Medicaid prescriptions at a loss. For independent pharmacies in particular, which have been under pressure throughout the country, the effects of the provisions likely would have been devastating, to say nothing of the countless low-income patients who would risk losing access to pharmacy services.
This is very good step in the right direction by Government for the Community Pharmacies. It gives room for competition against chain drug stores.
Axium, Firma Medical enter ED collaboration
LAKE MARY, Fla. A specialty pharmacy provider and a manufacturer will collaborate to provide treatments for erectile dysfunction.
Axium Healthcare Pharmacy and Firma Medical announced the partnership Wednesday where by Axium’s erectile dysfunction line of injectable compounded pharmaceuticals will be marketed to Firma’s physician and patient customers around the country. The companies said the deal would give Axium broader distribution while increasing the number of treatment options for Firma’s customers.
“Axium is pleased to partner with Firma Medical,” Axium EVP Greg Vaughn said. “This partnership shows our commitment in expanding our product offerings for patients with ED.”
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Teva Women’s Health discusses emergency contraceptive at symposium
NEW YORK Nearly 1 million acts of unprotected sex take place in the United States every night. This statistic was a major talking point at a breakfast symposium for journalists on Thursday sponsored by Teva Women’s Health, manufacturer of the Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive pill.
Those unprotected sex acts help contribute to the more than 3 million unintended pregnancies that affect U.S. women every year.
“Overall, it has been estimated that the widespread use of emergency contraception in the United States could prevent 1.7 million unintended pregnancies each year,” Columbia University Medical Center professor Anne Davis said in a statement on behalf of Teva.
Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) is a single pill available from behind the counter for girls and women ages 17 years and older, designed to be taken 72 hours after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. But the four panelists at the symposium agreed that part of the challenge to increasing usage of the pill in the event of an “oops moment” is making people aware of it and combatting misinformation around it.
Visibility and convenience can go a long way to promoting usage, panelist and University of Southern California pharmacy professor Kathleen Besinque said, mentioning what she called “the condom look” — the anxious look on young men’s faces that is a telltale sign they’re looking for condoms. Similarly, customers looking for emergency contraception may be embarrassed to talk about it openly and thus afraid to ask where the pills are or worried the store doesn’t carry them.
“I talk to pharmacists all the time, and I try to encourage them to put the product where it can be seen,” Besinque told Drug Store News, adding that one way of ensuring visibility could include shelf tags near the shelf where condoms are kept.
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