PHARMACY

Natco to sell retail pharmacy?

BY Alaric DeArment

HYDERABAD, India — Indian generic drug maker may end its five-year stint as a retail pharmacy operator, according to published reports.

The Hindu Business Line reported Thursday that Natco was considering the sale of the SaveMart Pharmacy store in Lancaster, Pa.

A company official said the store was doing well, according to the article, but it did not fit its current business strategy. Natco was the first Indian drug company to operate pharmacies in the United States, operating a small handful of pharmacies since 2006, when it acquired a majority stake in a company operating a store in New Jersey, though it sold that store in January. It acquired SaveMart in 2007.

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Report: Former pharmacy chain CEO Rick Keltsch dies

BY Allison Cerra

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The former head of a now defunct pharmacy chain has died, according to published reports.

Rick Keltsch, who led the Keltsch Bros. pharmacy chain as the company’s president and CEO until its merger with Scott’s Food & Pharmacy — a regional chain that was a subsidiary of Supervalu before being acquired by Kroger in April 2007 — died unexpectedly on Wednesday. He was 64 years old.

Keltsch is survived by his wife Jennie, children and grandchildren.

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ISPC to DoD: Reject exclusive networks in TPharm

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A group representing specialty pharmacies is calling on the Department of Defense to not use exclusive networks in the Tricare pharmacy program.

The Independent Specialty Pharmacy Coalition said exclusive arrangements for the program, also known as TPharm, were anti-competitive and harmful to patients who rely on specialty care by reducing patient choice and disrupting the continuum of care for them, and that reductions in pharmaceutical costs would not necessarily reduce overall healthcare spending.

“We hope that the DoD will keep in mind the best interests of the ultimate consumers here,” ISPC executive director Russell Gay said. “Narrow specialty pharmacy networks should be rejected because … exclusivity arrangements diminish the quality of patient care.”

Gay also criticized specialty operations owned by pharmacy benefit managers, saying the ownerships created conflicts of interest. “PBMs who own specialty pharmacy services have an incentive to drive business to their own operations, and, ultimately, everyone pays more when these conflicts exist,” Gay said.

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