NACDS retains Downey McGrath Group for government affairs efforts
ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced that it has retained the government affairs consulting services of Downey McGrath Group. The firm’s expertise will be a valuable complement to NACDS’ in-house Government Affairs and Public Policy Department, the association said.
Downey McGrath Group is a bipartisan government affairs consulting firm that provides strategic advice and expertise on matters of public policy. The chairman is former Democratic U.S. Representative Tom Downey and the President is former Republican U.S. Representative Ray McGrath. Both are veterans of the House Committee on Ways and Means. The firm will provide expert counsel on legislation, and key issues affecting chain pharmacy and its role in healthcare.
“This action is part of our comprehensive approach that includes federal and state government relations, grassroots, strategic communications and pharmacy affairs expertise,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson.
NACDS recently integrated two departments to create the new Government Affairs and Public Policy Department, hiring Carol Kelly to serve as its senior vice president. Next month, the association stated, will see the rollout of a major advertising campaign to highlight the value of pharmacy as “the face of neighborhood healthcare.” Retaining Downey McGrath Group is an additional expansion of these overall efforts.
“Downey McGrath Group has a reputation for authority and credibility, and will be an excellent addition as we expand our work on behalf of the NACDS membership in the area of government policy,” Anderson stated.
Costco program delivers deep discounts to uninsured
ISSAQUAH, Wash. Costco is enrolling up to 5,000 new members per week to its Costco Member Prescription Program that gives uninsured members deep discounts on hundreds of different prescription drugs.
The program launched at pharmacies last July and is now available in every state in the U.S. where Costco does business. “It’s kind of a unique program for our members who don’t have insurance,” said Costco VP of pharmacy Vic Curtis. “We work with our manufacturers and are able to offer members a discount through savings passed on either from the manufacturer or, in Costco’s case, from within our own margins.”
To qualify for the program, people need to be current Costco members and fill out a registration form confirming they don’t insurance. To deliver the extra savings, Costco works with manufacturers to create a Preferred Drug List of branded and generic drugs that can be provided with a discount.
When filling a prescription for a program member, pharmacists check the list to see if the prescription is on it or search for a similar drug that serves the same need for less expense. “Our pharmacists have members check with their physicians to make sure a drug on the preferred list will work for them,” said Curtis.
Typical monthly savings on a 30-day supply of drugs is $15 but the savings vary. Curtis said the best example is a 30-day supply of Prevacid, which is available to program members for $101.17 at a cost savings of $49.58. On the lower end, members can save $7 on a one-month supply of Lunesta.
Curtis said Costco currently has 61,000 members in the program and hopes to enroll many more in the coming months. “Our goal is to eventually have 250,000 to 300,000 members enrolled in the program,” said Curtis.
NextGen, Warburg look to partner on cancer drugs
LONDON NextGen Bioscience and Warburg Glycomed are negotiating a deal to collaborate. Both are biotech companies focused on developing new drugs to fight various types of cancer.
Warburg Glycomed has a compound that is able to reprogram cancer cells by modulating their aerobic glucose metabolism, which affects their ability to grow. Warburg Glycomed has expressed keen interest in collaborating with NextGen in a recently signed letter of intent, and is confident that a deal can be arranged.
“These collaboration discussions with Warburg Glycomed represent progress on fulfilling our business goal to form international collaboration agreements with specialty research organizations,: Konstantinos Kardiasmenos, chief executive officer of NextGen, stated. “An alliance with Warburg Glycomed would strengthen both companies’ position to capture the phenomenal global market for therapeutic cancer agents, which is now reaching a volume of approximately $30 billion.”