PHARMACY

GPhA expresses support of Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A new congressional caucus will look for ways to educate the public and members of Congress on how to reduce the country’s healthcare costs with affordable medicines.

Reps. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., will serve as chairwoman and chairman for the Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus, whose formation was announced Thursday.

The Generic Pharmaceuticals Association, the main lobby for the generic drug industry, expressed support for the new caucus and its goals, which include increasing generic drug utilization in Medicare and Medicaid and ensuring that the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Generic Drugs has enough resources.

The GPhA said Medicare and Medicaid didn’t do enough to take advantage of generic drugs, and according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an increase in generic utilization of 2% by Medicaid would save the program more than $1.3 billion, while a 5% increase would save it nearly $3.4 billion. At the same time, the Office of Generic Drugs has a backlog of more than 2,000 approval applications for generic drugs, including as many as 365 new generic versions of branded drugs.

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Chain pharmacy supports Script Your Future campaign

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A consumer education campaign launched by the National Consumers League and the U.S. surgeon general has received support from the drug retailing industry.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ charitable arm, the NACDS Foundation, engaged in the Script Your Future campaign and said it is the largest contributor to the campaign to date with its $1 million pledge.

“Poor medication adherence is costing Americans their good health, and is costing our nation an estimated $290 billion each year in avoidable healthcare costs,” NACDS Foundation chairman of the board Steve Anderson said. “Improved adherence will contribute to lower overall healthcare costs and increased quality of life. Script Your Future focuses national attention on this issue and helps pharmacists and other healthcare professionals support consumers in taking their medications as prescribed.”

Throughout the next three years, the Script Your Future campaign will provide materials through partnerships with pharmacies, hospitals, medical offices, clinics and health insurance plans; host community events and health fairs; and evaluate medication adherence awareness through research.

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CVS Caremark’s Pharmacy Advisor program named URAC award finalist

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has announced that it was selected as 1-of-20 finalists for the 2011 URAC Awards for Best Practices in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection.

The accreditation organization will honor the finalists during the URAC 12th Annual Quality Summit on Oct. 4 to 6 in Chicago.

A panel of judges selected CVS Caremark’s Pharmacy Advisor program out of entries from across the nation. Finalists are invited to present their programs at the Annual Quality Summit, which will showcase best practices in two categories: consumer decision-making and consumer health improvement.

To reduce medical costs by improving medication adherence and closing gaps in care for diabetes, CVS Caremark developed Pharmacy Advisor, a solution that leverages its assets both as a PBM and as a national retail pharmacy chain to improve pharmacy care.

Pharmacy Advisor provides members with brief, targeted and proactive consultations through PBM and retail channels across the continuum of care. CVS Caremark engages members according to their expressed preferences and when they are most receptive to messages about their prescribed therapy — face-to-face when members choose to fill prescriptions at CVS/pharmacy or by phone when members choose mail pharmacy.

"We are pleased that CVS Caremark and our Pharmacy Advisor program has been selected as a finalist by URAC," stated Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark’s PBM business. "Pharmacy Advisor is an example of our efforts to develop innovative programs that improve patient engagement, better manage chronic diseases like diabetes and help clients manage their healthcare costs."

"URAC’s Annual Quality Summit provides a unique opportunity for leaders in health care to learn what premier companies are doing to advance consumer empowerment and protection," URAC president and CEO Alan Spielman said. "We are proud to honor CVS Caremark’s Pharmacy Advisor program. By sharing these best practices, we can work to inspire the industry as a whole to adopt proven practices that advance patient safety and empower consumers."

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