PHARMACY

Medco to include services for Spanish speakers

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Medco will beef up its services for Spanish speakers following an investigation by HHS’ Office for Civil Rights.

“These actions will significantly improve members’ ability to manage and make informed decisions about their own health care – a critical objective under the federal law prohibiting discrimination based on national origin,” HHS Office for Civil Rights acting director Robinsue Frohboese stated. “Industry action like this is needed to combat healthcare disparities and promote healthcare reform to improve access and delivery of quality health care for all.”

The company, which dispenses more than 100 million prescriptions a year, will expand its staff of bilingual, Spanish-speaking customer service representatives and its ability to route Spanish speakers seeking help with prescription drug questions or problems.

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PHARMACY

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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