NACDS submits statements for Senate, House hearings advocating Medicare enhancements
ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has announced that, in written statements submitted for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives committee hearings this week, it noted the essential role of community pharmacy in the success of the 10-year-old Medicare Part D prescription drug program and urged program enhancements focused on the quality and affordability of care.
NACDS stated that it issued a statement for today’s hearing of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, titled “The President’s and Other Bipartisan Proposals to Reform Medicare.” NACDS also will provide a similar statement for Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, titled “10 Years Later: A Look at the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.”
“As the face of neighborhood healthcare, community pharmacies and pharmacists provide access to prescription medications and over-the-counter products, as well as cost-effective health services such as immunizations and disease screenings,” NACDS wrote. “Through personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive care services, local pharmacists are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow – in partnership with doctors, nurses and others.”
NACDS commended Congress for including medication therapy management in Medicare Part D at its inception, and urged the advancement of legislation to improve this methodical approach to helping patients take medications safely and as prescribed. NACDS advocated for the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2013 – H.R. 1024 in the House and S. 557 in the Senate – which would open MTM to Medicare Part D beneficiaries who suffer from one, rather than multiple, chronic disease.
NACDS described a study published in the January 2012 edition of Health Affairs, which identified the key role of retail pharmacies in providing MTM services. The study found that a pharmacy-based intervention program increased patient adherence for patients with diabetes, and that the benefits were greater for those who received counseling in a retail, face-to-face setting as opposed to a phone call from a mail order pharmacist.
NACDS also emphasized that the Congressional Budget Office in late 2012 announced steps to reflect in its cost-evaluation of legislative proposals the belief that better use of medications can generate savings by reducing reliance on costly forms of care. If generalized to the nation as a whole, just a 1% increase in medication use saves $1.7 billion in overall healthcare costs, or $5.76 per person. Also, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in February 2013 released a study focused on Medicare beneficiaries with certain lung or heart conditions. Those enrolled in MTM services in 2010 – and particularly those who received comprehensive medication reviews – experienced significant improvement in the quality of their drug regimens and costs were saved. NACDS urged steps to incorporate the value of community pharmacy into emerging care models, such as accountable care organizations.
“Permitting pharmacists to practice to their maximum capabilities within these new delivery models would help increase medication adherence and coordination between healthcare settings, result in higher rates of vaccinations, and reduce the burden of the physician shortage, particularly with the influx of new patients in 2014 through the Healthcare Marketplaces and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility,” NACDS wrote. “As we move forward with the reform of the healthcare delivery system and improving Medicare, it is imperative for all healthcare providers to practice to their maximum capabilities, working in partnership to provide accessible, high-quality care to patients.”
NACDS also urged caution related to the growing role of preferred pharmacy networks in Medicare Part D.
“NACDS believes the choice of where to obtain prescription drugs and pharmacy services should be left to Medicare beneficiaries. In order to make an informed choice, it is important for beneficiaries to have clear information,” NACDS stated. “We applaud efforts by CMS to ensure beneficiaries are fully educated when making plan selections and do not make selections based on ambiguous information. NACDS recommends that all beneficiaries be given clear instructions that, regardless of plan selection, they still retain the right to have a prescription filled at the pharmacy of their choosing and are not required to obtain their prescriptions at a preferred network. Ensuring beneficiary awareness of this policy will lead to less confusion and will allow beneficiaries to continue to utilize the pharmacy of their choice.
“While beneficiary cost sharing may encourage the use of a preferred pharmacy, it should not be so significant as to disadvantage Medicare beneficiaries who rely on a pharmacy not in the preferred network. This may be particularly important in rural and urban areas, where beneficiaries would have to travel long distances to access preferred-network pharmacies.”
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Mylan hires Julie Bowen in anaphylaxis campaign
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — A subsidiary of drug maker Mylan is sponsoring a campaign to draw attention to severe allergic reactions.
Mylan Specialty announced the Raise Your Hand for Anaphylaxis Awareness campaign, hiring actress Julie Bowen as a celebrity spokeswoman. The campaign will invite people to virtually "raise their hands" for their school districts by visiting www.Anaphylaxis101.com; four winning school districts will receive grants of $15,000 to support educational programs.
"Since I joined the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis campaign and started sharing my experience of raising a child with life-threatening allergies, so many people have in turn shared their personal stories with me," Bowen said. "It’s been a real eye opener to realize how many parents, like me, didn’t know their child had life-threatening allergies until anaphylaxis occurred."
Great idea to help educate students about food allergies. During these events, please also help promote among food allergic students the importance of self carrying their Epipens. In the US almost all states have passed the self carrying epinephrine law but many students aren't aware of it and those that know about it aren't carrying them because the injectors are to big to put inside their pockets. There are discreet epipen carriers and concealed epipen holsters and even undergarment waist slings that make it easy to self carry their epinephrine so they need to also be informed about these solutions.
Beauty spells opportunity for retail-pharmacy operators
AccentHealth found that more than half of viewers make personal product purchases when filling a prescription at the pharmacy, according to an online survey of almost 700 AccentHealth viewers conducted in April. There is opportunity for growth as 7-out-of-10 consumers indicated that they are likely to purchase beauty and hygiene products when filling a prescription in the future.
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Source: AccentHealth. To view the demographic breakdown of participants, click here.
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