NACDS, FMI file motion to prevent AWP reductions in Massachusetts
ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Food Marketing Institute filed a motion late Thursday seeking a stay in federal district court in Massachusetts, following the release of the final judgment in the First DataBank and Medi-Span lawsuit.
The motion asked the district court to halt implementation of the approved average wholesale price reductions that dramatically would cut pharmacy reimbursement.
“Implementation of these AWP cuts could jeopardize patient access to pharmacy services, as pharmacies will face reduced Medicaid reimbursement rates,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “We are hopeful that the Court will prevent this implementation and rule in favor of pharmacy access for patients.”
“This decision violates the fundamental constitutional principle of being given the opportunity to fully participate in the legal process,” said Deborah White, SVP and chief legal officer, FMI. “We look forward to a fair hearing on the issues raised by this decision.”
Last month, Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled to reduce the AWPs used to set pharmacy reimbursement rates to 120% of wholesale acquisition cost for 1,442 designated drug products. As a result of the court’s approval of the settlement, First DataBank and Medi-Span issued statements announcing that AWPs will be reduced to 120% of WAC for all remaining drug products effective Sept. 26, 2009. First DataBank and Medi-Span also plan to stop publishing AWPs, which are used as a prescription drug pricing benchmark.
NACDS and FMI previously filed a legal brief, including an economic analysis, to counter the proposed settlements. The brief and analysis detailed the numerous ways in which the proposed settlement’s cost savings and estimated impact were based on inaccurate economic analysis and would unfairly hurt retail pharmacies. The AWP reductions will cut Medicaid reimbursement by about $68 million each year. In addition, pharmacies that are unable to renegotiate their private sector reimbursement contracts will face a net four percent reduction in AWP-based reimbursement.
Astellas Pharma introduces new formulation of Vaprisol
DEERFIELD, Ill. Astellas Pharma US announced this week the introduction of a new formulation of a drug for treating hyponatremia.
The Tokyo-based drug maker introduced Vaprisol (conivaptan hydrochloride injection) Premixed in 5% Dextrose, a new premixed formulation. The Food and Drug Administration originally approved the drug in October.
“It is imperative to promptly address hyponatremia in emergency and hospital settings,” Georgetown University medicine and physiology professor Joseph Verbalis said in a statement. “Vaprisol Premixed in 5% Dextrose is a convenient option for quickly preparing treatment for hyponatremia patients.”
Hyponatremia is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s blood sodium level falls significantly below normal. It is present in about 28% of patients upon admission into acute hospital care, and another 14% acquire it while in acute care. It can result in swelling of the brain, respiratory arrest, catastrophic brain damage and death.
Diabetes drug makers experience stock jump
NEW YORK Shares of two large drug makers focused on diabetes increased Wednesday afternoon despite declines in the drug industry as a whole, according to published reports.
The Amex Pharmaceutical Index and Amex Biotechnology Index fell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased after a fall earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, however, shares of Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk and San Diego-based drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals increased respectively by 4%, to $49.95, and 3%, to $12.12.
Amylin had released a study earlier in the week showing that a long-acting formulation of the diabetes drug Byetta (exenatide) that has not yet been launched outperformed Merck & Co.’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and Takeda’s Actos (pioglitazone hydrochloride) in patients with Type 2 diabetes.