PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA voice approval of CMS’ redefinition of multiple source drugs

BY Drew Buono

ALEXANDRIA, Va. National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson and National Community Pharmacists Association chief executive officer and executive vice president Bruce Roberts released a statement today announcing their satisfaction with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for revising its definition of multiple source drugs.

According to the department of Health and Human Services the definition of a multiple source drug is a drug marketed or sold by two or more manufacturers or labelers, or a drug marketed or sold by the same manufacturer or labeler under two or more different proprietary names or both under a proprietary name and without such a name.

The NACDS and NCPA also stated that although they acknowledge the revision, the lawsuit they filed which brought about this revision is still in place. The lawsuit is still in place to help make sure that CMS will in fact comply with the Medicaid statute. The organizations noted that, “this revised rule does not eliminate the lawsuit filed by NACDS and NCPA in November 2007 to block the average manufacturers price rule, which would drastically cut reimbursement payments to community pharmacies that serve disadvantaged Americans in the Medicaid program.”

Also, the organizations stated that, “This rule does not address two other major arguments in the lawsuit: 1) the AMP rule does not comply with the Social Security Act’s definition of AMP; and 2) the AMP rule improperly applies federal upper limits on reimbursement to non-equivalent drug products. While we are hopeful for continued success in court, NACDS and NCPA will continue to encourage Congress to work with pharmacy to find more appropriate models for pharmacy reimbursement for generics under Medicaid.”

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PHARMACY

NACDS Foundation, eHealth Initiative to host health technology conference

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Scrambling to keep its members abreast of rapid changes in health information technology and electronic communications, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation will co-host a two-day conference in June on the advances transforming health care.

The NACDS Foundation is collaborating with eHealth Initiative, a Washington-based nonprofit organization specializing in quality and health information technology, to sponsor the event. Titled “HIT, EMR, PHR- Transforming Patient Care,” the conference is set for June 11 to 12 at the Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington, Va.

Among the topics the meeting will address are the use of technology in electronic prescribing, medication therapy management, patient education programs, comprehensive medication review and other initiatives to manage data and improve patient health.

“Advances in health information technology, new electronic prescribing regulations and increased adoption of electronic medical records are changing the landscape of pharmacy provided patient services,” said foundation president Phil Schneider. “As other sectors of the healthcare system adopt health information technology practices, the opportunity is tremendous for community pharmacy to play an integral role in new ways to provide patient care.”  

Janet Marchibroda, chief executive officer of eHealth Initiative, said the event would focus on “highlighting significant progress made—across a variety of sectors of health care, including pharmacies—in using health information technology to transform patient care.” The conference, she continued,  “will offer practical guidance and best practices for using health IT to improve the quality, safety and effectiveness of health care in the United States.”

Registration information can be found at www.nacdsfoundation.org.

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Medical Marts clinics lose funding, are forced to close

BY Antoinette Alexander

LAS VEGAS Medical Marts, an operator of physician-staffed clinics located in select Meijer, Sears/Kmart and ShopKo stores, has closed its doors.

Ken Richmond, who had served as vice president and chief medical officer of Medical Marts, told Drug Store News that the venture capitalists backing the operation changed their mind for reasons that are unclear and decided to move in another direction.

When it closed, the company had operated 13 clinics in Utah, Illinois and Virginia. The physician-staffed clinics were within retailers ShopKo, Meijer and Sears/Kmart. It staffed about 75 employees, of which more than 20 were physicians.

Medical Mart, which opened its first clinic in Salt Lake City in November 2006, had planned to open up to 100 more clinics in 2008.

Dismayed over the company’s decision to close, Richmond said he believes the concept “is a winner” that addresses many of the problems in mainstream healthcare, especially access to healthcare.

“This is the first way in which physicians were truly community based,” said Richmond. “Rather than physicians saying to the public you come to us, we came to the public and made ourselves available at their convenience.”

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