PHARMACY

Mylan settles Medicaid reimbursement suit

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Generic drug maker Mylan has settled a lawsuit concerning Medicaid reimbursements with the federal government and the state of Texas, Mylan said Dec. 24.

Under the settlement, Mylan will pay $65 million.

Several state attorneys general filed lawsuits against Mylan and other drug companies in September 2003 over Medicaid reimbursements, alleging that the companies defrauded the programs by reporting average wholesale prices greater than the prices of their prescription drugs, thus causing the programs to make excessive payments to healthcare providers.

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APhA promotes medicine cabinet cleanout

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON — The oldest national organization of pharmacists is making a New Year’s push to encourage Americans to clear out their old and expired medicines.

To mark the change of the calendar, the American Pharmacists Association has launched a new public outreach effort to get the public to “make an annual medicine cabinet cleanout part of their New Year’s resolutions.” In line with that effort, the APhA said, pharmacists are recommending that patients use this time to properly dispose of all the unused and expired medications that accumulated over the previous year.

“A medicine cabinet cleanout is one of the smallest resolutions a person can make for [his or her] personal and family’s health,” APhA EVP and CEO Tom Menighan said. “It just takes a few simple steps to properly store and dispose of medications.”

The organization, founded in 1852, has issued a set of guidelines for Americans to follow when cleaning out their medicine cabinets. Among them:

  • Store medicines in a secured area that has low humidity, a stable temperature and adequate lighting;

  • Check the date on everything in the medicine cabinet and dispose of anything that has passed the expiration date. Properly dispose of anything not used in the past 12 months;

  • Properly dispose of any prescription medications no longer needed. Do not share prescription medications with others;

  • Properly dispose of medicines no longer in their original containers or those that no longer can be identified;

  • Properly dispose of medicines that have changed color, odor or taste;

  • Do not flush unused or expired medications and do not pour them down a sink or drain. Medications should be disposed of properly in the household trash or through the community’s medication disposal program, when available;

  • Before disposing of medications in the trash, pour them into a sealable plastic bag. If the medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it. Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag; and

  • Remove and destroy all identifying personal information on prescription labels from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.

The APhA also provided a Web address for patients and pharmacists who want to know more about medicines that should be flushed, at SMARxTDisposal.net.

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Rite Aid gets fit with BL Body

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid on Tuesday announced its partnership with BL Body, a collection of shape wear available exclusively in Rite Aid stores, on a sweepstakes with a first prize trip for two to the location of the reality program “The Biggest Loser.”

Rite Aid is taking sweepstake entries through Jan. 22 for the $4,000-grand prize. Second prize is a year’s membership for two to the Biggest Loser Club online weight-loss program, a $479 value.

The sweepstakes is being promoted with in-store radio and a national radio tour featuring Ashley Johnston, the runner-up to season nine who set a show all-time record for most weight loss by a woman. Johnston also is a spokeswoman for the BL Body collection of shape wear inspired by the show.

Rite Aid already has an established weight-loss heritage in the California market through its retail-clinic partnership with weight-loss clinic Lindora.

The chain provides a 12-page informational guide in stores or online at RiteAid.com packed with weight-loss tips, techniques and topics, including how to fight childhood obesity, the importance of counting calories instead of just carbohydrates or fat and how to exercise on a budget.

Rite Aid customers also can access the Rite Weight program at RiteAid.com/RiteWeightPlan. That program, created by Lindora, aims to help patients lose up to 10% of their body weight in 10 weeks with free online seminars, weight-tracking tools and daily support e-mails.

For members of its free Wellness+ customer rewards program, Rite Aid is offering discounts and rebates on healthy weight products purchased through Jan. 22. Specials include buy-one/get-one-free offers on vitamins and supplements, meal replacements and fat burners.

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