PHARMACY

Medicare.com, DestinationRx.com team to provide information on benefits

BY Alaric DeArment

NASHVILLE A Web site that provides information about Medicare announced a partnership Tuesday with a site that provides comparisons of drugs’ price, safety and therapeutic efficacy and information on drug and health plans.

Medicare.com and DestinationRx will provide Medicare beneficiaries easy access to a Web-based tool for comparing and enrolling in Part D drug plans.

The Plan Selectors section on Medicare.com will ask for patients’ ZIP codes and what drugs they use, providing a side-by-side comparison of local health plans.

“Seniors should take Open Enrollment seriously,” said Bill Kimberlin, chief executive of Medicare.com parent company MedX Publishing. “Don’t assume your current plan remains the best for you, as costs will go up in 2009.”

A recent analysis of new government data for Medicare prescription drug plans by Avalere Health indicated that premiums are increasing. Medicare drug coverage will increase by 24 percent, with the top 10 plans increasing as much as 30 percent in 2009.

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PHARMACY

Jewel-Osco extends Prescription Plus offerings for more customers to get flu shots

BY Alaric DeArment

ITASCA, Ill. A retail pharmacy chain is reminding patients to use their prescription medications properly and get vaccinated despite the difficult economy.

Jewel-Osco Pharmacy will extend its Prescription Plus Rewards Programs through Jan. 31, allowing frequent pharmacy customers to save money on groceries. The program offers customers a 10 percent discount coupon for every five prescriptions they fill at the pharmacy using a discount card.

“As pharmacists, our foremost concern is helping our patients comply with their prescribed medication therapies,” Jewel-Osco vice president for pharmacy operations Tom Rousonelos said. “We’re extending the length of Prescription Plus in response to a real need our pharmacy customers tell us they have for the continuous opportunities to reduce their grocery bills through this program.”

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FDA approves Aurobindo’s generic version of Zoloft

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Aurobindo’s application for sertraline hydrochloride oral concentrate, FDA records show.

The drug is a generic version of Pfizer’s antidepressant Zoloft. Roxane and Ranbaxy also offer generic versions.

The FDA approved sertraline hydrochloride tablets from Aurobindo in February 2007. The oral concentrate formulation received approval on Oct. 31.

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