PHARMACY

NACDS pushes for physician incentives for e-prescribing

BY Adam Kraemer

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores sent a letter Monday to all members of Congress, explaining the importance of legislation and regulations that will facilitate the adoption of electronic prescribing.

Specifically, NACDS sought support for the “Medicare Electronic Medication and Safety Protection (E-MEDS) Act of 2007,” which provides physicians with financial incentives to transmit prescriptions to pharmacies electronically in the Medicare program.

In addition, NACDS called for the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice to allow e-prescribing technology to be utilized for controlled substances, which make up nearly 20 percent of all prescriptions, but are currently prohibited from being prescribed that way. The ban “effectively forcing physicians who e-prescribe to maintain two separate systems: an electronic system for noncontrolled substances and a paper system for controlled substances. This places a significant burden on physicians and has led many to forego electronic prescribing altogether,” the letter stated.

“E-prescribing is a proven technology that will vastly improve health outcomes for individuals taking medications, reduce prescription errors and save money for public and private health care programs,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. ”We urge Congressional support in expediting widespread utilization of e-prescribing to enhance health providers’ access to important health care information to help benefit patients.”

Click here to view a copy of the letter.

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Despite clinic closings, Meijer keeps commitment to health care

BY DSN STAFF

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Meijer has had a growing retail clinic program that helped establish its positions as a retailer interested in the needs of consumers hard pressed by medical costs, while also offering a free prescription drug program that provides antibiotics to customers free of charge, further marking its commitment.

The Meijer commitment remains, as does the prescription drug program, but most of the clinics are gone, although through no fault of the retailer.

Meijer has gone from having 39 clinics operating in its stores to having one unit that is situated in Normal, Ill. The company leased space to four different providers who operated independently, but in recent weeks, three of the four have withdrawn from the market, and, as a result, clinic operators who had opened units in Meijer stores in upper Michigan, the Detroit area and Indiana have shuttered their operations.

Family Quick Care operates the Normal clinic, and a Meijer source noted that it seems to be doing well. Physicians Organization of Western Michigan, Early Solutions and Medical Mart operated the defunct clinics.

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New chief executive officer at Lilly stresses drug development

BY Diana Alickaj

INDIANAPOLIS John Lechleiter, a Harvard-trained chemist, has been named Eli Lilly’s chief executive officer beginning on April 1, according to published reports. He will be succeeding Sidney Taurel who has announced his retirement from the Fortune 500 company.

Lechleiter will be the ninth leader in the company’s 131 years, and make a salary of $1.4 million, with a possible bonus of $2 million depending on the company’s performance, according to published reports.

A new leader seems to be a positive change for the company as its best-selling drug Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic, will lose its patent protection in three years, and its other top-selling drugs Cymbalta, Gemzar and Humalong, will expire two years after, further increasing the company’s pressure to introduce new products to the market.

According to the new chief executive officer, the introduction of new drugs will be his main priority, and is optimistic in this development. “As many challenges as we have in this industry today, it’s also a time of tremendous opportunity when you look at how much more we know about the human biology that underlies the mechanisms of disease,” said Lechleiter.

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