PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA claim pharmacy victory after withdrawal of Medicaid program provisions

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association heralded the withdrawal of two provisions from the Medicaid program that would have had retail pharmacies selling generic drugs at a loss.

 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cut provisions that defined average manufacturer price and determined calculation of federal upper limits. The NACDS and NCPA sued CMS in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in November 2007 to obtain an injunction against the provisions, which the court granted. In response, CMS revised its definition of multiple source drugs in October 2008, though the pharmacy lobby groups amended their lawsuit to block that as well, saying it was still against the law. CMS’ new rule removes that provision as well.

 

 

In a joint statement, NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA EVP and CEO Kathleen Jaeger heralded the decision, saying the rule would have reduced patients’ access to pharmacies by cutting reimbursements, thus forcing retail pharmacies to sell generic drugs at a loss.

 

 

“We insisted that this policy was not appropriate,” the statement read. “Separately, we also have urged that policy-makers should recognize the ability of pharmacies and pharmacists to help improve health and reduce healthcare costs. We are gratified that this sense is reflected in the pharmacy provisions of the new healthcare-reform law. The new law contains provisions ranging from dramatically reducing the [accelerated manufacturing of pharmaceutical] cuts to advancing medication therapy management, through which pharmacists can help patients take their medications correctly, which is referred to as ‘medication adherence.’”

 

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PHARMACY

Axium, Firma Medical enter ED collaboration

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE MARY, Fla. A specialty pharmacy provider and a manufacturer will collaborate to provide treatments for erectile dysfunction.

 

Axium Healthcare Pharmacy and Firma Medical announced the partnership Wednesday where by Axium’s erectile dysfunction line of injectable compounded pharmaceuticals will be marketed to Firma’s physician and patient customers around the country. The companies said the deal would give Axium broader distribution while increasing the number of treatment options for Firma’s customers.

 

 

“Axium is pleased to partner with Firma Medical,” Axium EVP Greg Vaughn said. “This partnership shows our commitment in expanding our product offerings for patients with ED.”

 

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Teva Women’s Health discusses emergency contraceptive at symposium

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Nearly 1 million acts of unprotected sex take place in the United States every night. This statistic was a major talking point at a breakfast symposium for journalists on Thursday sponsored by Teva Women’s Health, manufacturer of the Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive pill.

Those unprotected sex acts help contribute to the more than 3 million unintended pregnancies that affect U.S. women every year.

“Overall, it has been estimated that the widespread use of emergency contraception in the United States could prevent 1.7 million unintended pregnancies each year,” Columbia University Medical Center professor Anne Davis said in a statement on behalf of Teva.

Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) is a single pill available from behind the counter for girls and women ages 17 years and older, designed to be taken 72 hours after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. But the four panelists at the symposium agreed that part of the challenge to increasing usage of the pill in the event of an “oops moment” is making people aware of it and combatting misinformation around it.

Visibility and convenience can go a long way to promoting usage, panelist and University of Southern California pharmacy professor Kathleen Besinque said, mentioning what she called “the condom look” — the anxious look on young men’s faces that is a telltale sign they’re looking for condoms. Similarly, customers looking for emergency contraception may be embarrassed to talk about it openly and thus afraid to ask where the pills are or worried the store doesn’t carry them.

“I talk to pharmacists all the time, and I try to encourage them to put the product where it can be seen,” Besinque told Drug Store News, adding that one way of ensuring visibility could include shelf tags near the shelf where condoms are kept.

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