PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA sue Delaware governor over state Medicaid reimbursement cuts

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two pharmacy organizations have filed a joint lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Delaware Gov. Jack Markell over cuts to the state’s Medicaid reimbursements for branded drugs.

The state made the cuts on April 1, prompting talks between the governor and the state’s Department of Health and Social Services and pharmacy representatives. The talks broke off earlier this month, leading to the lawsuit, filed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

The NACDS and NCPA also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, asking the court to halt the cuts as the judge considers the lawsuit.

The two organizations estimate that the cuts would result in an average reduction of $3.63 in reimbursement for branded drugs, which is lower than the average pharmacy’s breakeven cost for more than 76% of all branded drugs, resulting in an average loss of $3.84 per prescription.

“Patient access to pharmacy services will be in jeopardy if these cuts take effect,” NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson said in a statement. “During these challenging economic times, Medicaid patients should not be on the losing end of the state’s attempt to reconcile their budget.”

The two organizations also asserted that the cuts violate federal law by ignoring possible effects they will have on patients’ access to care.

“This lawsuit was filed by pharmacies, but it is truly on behalf of Delaware’s Medicaid patients whose access to medications is threatened by these devastating cuts,” NCPA CEO and EVP Bruce Roberts said. “Medicaid is designed to provide health care to financially disadvantaged patients who couldn’t otherwise afford these valuable services.”

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Senate to vote on drug importation measure

BY Anna Mcgrath

WASHINGTON U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., has dropped his proposal to add the importation of cheaper medicines from other countries to a tobacco legislation.

Dorgan claims that under the amendment, the Food and Drug Administration would be given the power to oversee packaging, marketing and manufacturing of cigarettes and other tobacco products, Reuters reported. Additionally, U.S.-licensed pharmacies and drug wholesalers would also be allowed to import FDA-approved medicines from Canada, Europe and a few other areas for cheaper prices.

The Senate will consider the drug issue separately, Reuters said.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $5 million for the FDA to get started. Despite presidental backing, drugmakers are unhappy with Dorgan’s bill, claiming that with importation comes the risk for counterfeit drugs.

The tobacco bill passed the Senate on Monday with a 61-30 vote and proceeds to legislation later this week.

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KV Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma settle OxyContin dispute

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS A generic drug company has settled a dispute with a branded drug company concerning the painkiller OxyContin.

St. Louis-based KV Pharmaceutical Co. announced Tuesday that it had entered a settlement agreement with Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue Pharma in a patent infringement lawsuit that Purdue filed against KV.

Under the terms of the agreement, KV agreed that Purdue’s patents for OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride) are valid, enforceable and infringed. In exchange, Purdue granted KV limited rights to sell generic controlled-release oxycodone hydrochloride tablets in the United States for an unspecified period of time.

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