NACDS emphasizes community pharmacy’s role in controlling healthcare costs
ARLINGTON, Va. — Community pharmacy is an important healthcare partner in providing cost-saving solutions within the healthcare system by helping to improve medication adherence, administering vaccinations and increasing the use of generic drugs. That was a key message of a statement sent by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores to Budget Committee conferees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
“As Congress works to address the nation’s budget deficit, NACDS and our members offer our support for developing effective solutions to reduce healthcare costs, while at the same time maintaining patient access to prescription drugs and pharmacy services,” NACDS said in its letter to the committees.
Pharmacy services such as medication therapy management can improve adherence, creating better health outcomes and lower costs. Reports by the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as well as a recent article in Health Affairs found that appropriate medication use can in fact improve health while lowering costs.
These findings have helped increase recognition by lawmakers about the value of MTM, including bipartisan support for U.S. House and U.S. Senate bills, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2013 (H.R. 1024 and S. 557, respectively). The House bill currently has 149 cosponsors and the Senate bill has 30 cosponsors.
NACDS also emphasized that pharmacies have played an integral role in recent years in providing vaccinations and immunizations against illnesses such as flu, pneumonia, and shingles. In addition to helping patients stay healthy, encouraging Medicare patients and others to obtain vaccinations at their neighborhood pharmacy is a cost-effective and convenient way to help prevent illness and reduce healthcare costs. The Department of Defense cites cost-savings of nearly $1.5 million by expanding the portfolio of vaccines that Tricare patients may obtain from community pharmacies.
In its statement, NACDS also emphasized the benefits of increased utilization of generic drugs.
“Pharmacies have long promoted generic drugs as safe, cost-effective alternatives for many patients. Increasing the use of generic drugs in public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, is one of the most effective ways to reduce prescription drug costs. For every one percent increase in generic utilization, the Medicaid program could save $558 million,” NACDS stated in the letter.
“As the face of neighborhood healthcare, community pharmacies and pharmacists provide access to prescription medications and over-the-counter products, as well as cost-effective health services such as immunizations and disease screenings. Through personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive care services, local pharmacists are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow – in partnership with doctors, nurses and others,” NACDS stated in the letter.
Reports: Takeda sues Amneal over generic version of Colcrys
NEW YORK — Generic drug maker Amneal Pharmaceuticals is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for a gout drug, prompting a lawsuit from the maker of the branded version, according to published reports.
Law360 reported that Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA had sued Amneal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware over the drug Colcrys (colchicine), used to treat gout and familial Mediterranean fever.
Amneal earlier this year applied for approval of generic colchicine in gout patients, asserting that Takeda’s patents covering the gout indication were invalid and triggering a lawsuit from Takeda, but later withdrew the application. The latest lawsuit relates to an effort by Amneal to win approval for the drug as a treatment for familial Mediterranean fever, or FMF, a rare genetic disease.
FDA approves Lundbeck’s Sabril in children
DEERFIELD, Ill. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Lundbeck for treating a form of epilepsy in children, the drug maker said.
Lundbeck announced the approval of Sabril (vigabatrin) as an add-on therapy for refractory complex partial seizures in children ages 10 years and older who have not responded adequately to other treatments, as long as the benefit of treatment outweighs the risk of vision loss. The drug was already approved for treating the same condition in adults in 2009.
CPS affects about 35% of the more than 2 million Americans with epilepsy. CPS originates from from a single region of the brain and can cause impaired consciousness, and about 30% to 36% of those with it continue to have seizures despite trying multiple drug therapies, according to medical research.