HEALTH

NACDS chief, state pharmacy leader appeal to consumers on Medicaid cuts

BY Jim Frederick

SEATTLE In a direct appeal to pharmacy consumers in the state of Washington, industry and professional leaders have co-authored a high-profile article in The Seattle Times, condemning the state’s plan to cut Medicaid pharmacy reimbursements and asking consumers for their support in overturning the plan.

The guest column came from Steve Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and Jeff Rochon, CEO of the Washington State Pharmacy Association. It was published Monday under the headline “Medicaid pharmacy cuts will hurt all patients.”

Anderson and Rochon, along with Walgreens, have waged a legal and public information campaign to halt the proposed cuts, which they argue would make Washington state’s reimbursement the lowest in the nation. In their opinion column Monday, the two pharmacy leaders condemned the proposed cuts and appealed to consumers to contact state legislators to express opposition to the plan.

“The consequences of this decision are deeply troubling,” wrote Anderson and Rochon. “This new cut would mean every time a doctor prescribes a brand-name medication to Medicaid patients — even when a less-expensive generic alternative is available — pharmacies would lose money. It is absurd to penalize pharmacies for providing our patients with the medication that was prescribed by their doctor.”

Anderson and Rochon point out that the cuts would make filling prescriptions for Medicaid patients unprofitable, “potentially putting hundreds of jobs at risk and wreaking economic damage to large and smaller pharmacies across the state.

“More importantly, these cuts could harm the very people that the state has an obligation to serve,” they noted.

“We in the pharmacy industry recognize the state’s budgetary constraints and we went to the legislature and the governor with a slate of alternative solutions that address the state’s budget crisis,” add the two pharmacy advocates. “We proposed ideas such as implementing electronic prescribing programs for physicians to make patient care more efficient, and quickly converting Medicaid patients to new generic versions of brand-name medications as they become available in the near future. All told, these and other programs could save the state $90 million, far more than it gains by reducing the reimbursement on Medicaid drugs.”

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Study finds that Mannatech supplement can improve vision, memory

BY Alaric DeArment

COPPELL, Texas One tablespoon of a dietary supplement can improve mental functioning, a study indicates.

The study, by researchers at Howard University and published in the journal Perceptual & Motor Skills, indicated that a tablespoon of Mannatech’s supplement Ambrotose can “significantly improve” visual discrimination and working memory.

“The results of this study are impressive because they show significant improvement in the perceptual capabilities of healthy adults, which indicates that Ambrotose complex can benefit everyone,” researcher Atiya Stancil said.

Stancil and fellow researcher Leslie Hicks conducted the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 62 healthy young adults.

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RoC Skincare, All Detergent sign on for StoreBoard Media’s security pedestals

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Johnson & Johnson’s RoC Skincare and Sun Products Corp.’s All Detergent have signed on to advertise on StoreBoard Media’s security pedestal media.

The two brands are being featured beginning Tuesday on StoreBoard’s EyeCurve billboards at the entranceways to chain drug stores nationwide. The campaigns will run through May 17.

Johnson & Johnson is a returning StoreBoard shopper marketing advertiser, but is utilizing the EyeCurve billboards for the RoC brand for the first time. All Detergent is a returning brand.

“We are continuing to experience rapid growth because advertisers recognize that we provide a powerful advertising mass medium that reaches out-of-home shoppers at the point-of-decision. Our strongest endorsement can be found in our high percentage of repeat business,” said StoreBoard CEO Douglas Leeds.

Retailers who join the StoreBoard media network generate a new source of revenue, Leeds said, since StoreBoard shares its revenue with retailers. In addition, StoreBoard sells its product as media rather than promotion, enabling retailers to gain access to new marketing dollars from brands.

StoreBoard sells its advertising in four-week cycles. The Johnson & Johnson and Sun Products Corp. campaigns comprise the fifth cycle for 2009.

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