PHARMACY

Drug Store News guide helps policy-makers understand pharmacy’s public health role

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pharmacy advocates hoping to educate lawmakers about the role that retail pharmacy can play in healthcare reform will have a leave-behind supplied by Drug Store News.

The magazine has created a compilation of 10 stories from the print publication meant to profile what retail pharmacy is doing to lead healthcare reform, underwritten by PDX and Rx.com and titled “Community Pharmacy & Public Health: Profiles in Reform,” for members of the House and Senate. Drug Store News will present the guide for the first time at a special breakfast reception Wednesday, June 17, to kick off the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ first annual RxIMPACT Day.

As part of the event, NACDS expects more than 150 pharmacy advocates will converge on Capitol Hill that day to meet lawmakers and discuss policies that benefit patients and pharmacies in the context of healthcare reform.

“Pharmacy plays a critical role in helping patients maintain their health and in keeping healthcare costs down, and therefore should be a part of any healthcare reform package under consideration,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “We are very pleased that pharmacy advocates will be in Washington, D.C., during this critical time of debate on the most important domestic issue that impacts all Americans – healthcare reform.”

The stories come from issues of the magazine ranging from December 2008 to April 2009, by such writers as senior editors Antoinette Alexander and Jim Frederick, as well as a column by editor-in-chief Rob Eder that outlines four critical components of any meaningful health reform, including expanding generic utilization and electronic prescribing, expanding the role of pharmacists beyond prescribing and a greater emphasis on retail clinics.

Of the guide, Drug Store News publisher John Kenlon said, “It’s a convenient way for policy-makers to learn more about retail pharmacy solutions, and offers the industry a subtle approach to help initiate conversations with NACDS, as well as your representatives on Capitol Hill.”

The guide can be downloaded at http://www.drugstorenews.com/pdfs/The_Role_of_Pharmacy.pdf.

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Maryland offers free prescription card to residents

BY Michael Johnsen

ANNAPOLIS, Md. Maryland earlier this week launched a new statewide discount drug card program, called the Maryland Rx Card. The program, free to all Maryland residents, will provide savings of up to 75% on prescription drugs, though savings should average roughly 30%.

The program has no restrictions to membership, including no income requirements and no age limitations, and will be accepted at more than 50,000 pharmacy locations across the country.

The discount cards will be made available online at www.marylandrxcard.com, or at any Giant or Safeway pharmacy, both supermarket retailers have been named the preferred pharmacies for the program.

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Novo Nordisk discusses diabetes costs, patient motivation at conference

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The cost of diabetes to the country and the lag in patient motivation to take action to offset it were the major themes at a conference sponsored recently by a drug maker focused on the disease.

Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk convened the conference in Washington, bringing in such speakers as American Diabetes Association CEO Larry Hausner.

Without intervention at the national and patient level, the company said, the country runs the risk of having 50 million people living with the disease by 2025.

“The growing prevalence of diabetes is having a profound effect on the health of current and future generations, as well as our national economy,” Hausner said. “We must awaken the public’s consciousness of diabetes and ensure our leaders in Congress recognize healthcare reform as their opportunity to transform the lives of all people affected by this devastating disease.”

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