PHARMACY

Eli Lilly chairman, CEO comments on healthcare reform

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Healthcare reform should include a focus on innovation, the chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly & Co. said in remarks before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

John Lechleiter said policymakers’ attention to access, quality and costs should include a focus on innovation, lest results include “unintended side effects,” saying that innovation helped boost the average American’s life expectancy from 47 to 78 over the past century.

“Encouraging innovation needs to be the purpose of U.S. healthcare reform, not its victim,” Lechleiter said in his remarks. “It’s innovation that explains why we are the healthiest, longest-lived and wealthiest human beings ever to occupy the planet.”

According to the CIA World Factbook, the average American has a life expectancy of 79 years, compared with 84 for residents of Macau and about 32 for people in Swaziland.

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NACDS, NCPA praise Senate’s inclusion of Medicaid reimbursement relief in healthcare reform proposal

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two organizations have praised the Senate Finance Committee’s inclusion of Medicaid reimbursement relief in its healthcare reform proposals.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association hailed the inclusion of the policy by committee chairman Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

“While this process is only beginning, and legislation is being crafted, we are pleased that chairman Baucus, senator Grassley and Finance Committee members have recognized the implications on patient access that threaten the ability of pharmacies to provide healthcare services to the neediest populations, especially those in rural and inner-city areas with higher percentages of Medicaid patients,” NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson and NCPA executive VP and CEO Bruce Roberts said in a joint statement.

The proposal would increase the percentage of the federal upper limits from 250% to 300% of the weighted average of the most recent average manufacturer prices for pharmaceutically and therapeutically equivalent multiple-source drugs available nationally through commercial pharmacies.

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Pfizer develops free medication program for unemployed Americans

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Amid an economic environment of increasing unemployment, a large drug maker has started a program to offer medicines to unemployed Americans for free.

Pfizer announced the MAINTAIN plan to help eligible unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their health insurance continue receiving Pfizer medicines for free.

“We all know people who have been laid off recently and have lost their health insurance, making it difficult for them to pay for health care,” Pfizer regional president worldwide pharmaceuticals Jorge Puente stated. “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during these challenging economic times.”

The program, whose name stands for Medicines Assistance for Those who Are In Need, will be open for enrollment through Dec. 31 for Americans who have become unemployed since Jan. 1, regardless of prior family income.

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