PHARMACY

NACDS, other advocacy groups call for legislation to address cuts to Medicaid reimbursement

BY Adam Kraemer

ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a letter to Congressional leaders, a coalition of advocacy groups expressed its support for legislation that will help preserve patient access to medications, and urged Congress to pass the Fair Medicaid Drug Payment Act (H.R. 3700/S. 1951).

“Access to effective medications, in addition to the availability of health care providers to ensure they are taken appropriately, is critical to improving outcomes and reducing costs,” the letter read, in part. “We believe the enactment of legislation is necessary this year to create a reimbursement benchmark that is fair and accurate, and will help to protect patient access to important pharmacy services.”

Among the signatories on the letter were representatives from the 60 Plus Association, the American Medical Group Association, Easter Seals, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the National Caucus & Center on Black Aged, the National Consumers League and the National Family Caregivers Association. These organizations represent consumers, patients, health care providers and others who—like pharmacy—could be negatively impacted by cuts to Medicaid reimbursements.

“These diverse organizations share the same goal—the need to preserve access to medications for low-income patients,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “We are pleased to be working together towards this goal and grateful for their support of this crucial legislation.”

A copy of the letter is available here.

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Mylan twarted by court in Topamax case

BY Drew Buono

TITUSVILLE, N.J. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a ruling that prevents Mylan from marketing a generic version of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical’s epilepsy drug Topamax, according to Reuters.

The decision was originally found in a District Court in New Jersey. Now, Mylan has to wait until the patent expires in September before launching a generic.

Topamax had sales in 2007 of over $1.8 billion.

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Independents, chains team up to spread the word about e-prescribing

BY Drew Buono

ALEXANDRIA, Va. On April 17, a new campaign will launch in thousands of pharmacies, aimed at informing patients about the benefits of e-prescribing and also encouraging them to tell their doctors about the technology.

Many independent pharmacies are joining the campaign, along with such big chains as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kerr and Wal-Mart, to promote the program through in-store signs and educational material. Signage that reads “e-prescriptions filled here” and “give your prescriptions a head start” will be found on pharmacy doors and at counters.

Patients interested in learning more about the program—such as which pharmacies or physicians in their area practice e-prescribing—will be directed to the campaign’s Web site, www.LearnAboutEprescriptions.com.

To prove the worth of e-prescribing, Walgreens and SureScripts, who is providing the network for the e-prescribing pharmacies, have released a survey showing the benefits of implementing e-prescribing in a pharmacy.

According to the findings of the Walgreens/SureScripts study, prescriptions filled at pharmacies increased by 11 percent once physicians began actively using e-prescribing and that the savings for pharmacy labor costs are $1.07 for every new prescription and $0.41 for every refill due to e-prescribing.

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