NCPA announces LTC division
ALEXANDRIA, Va. The association dedicated to the nation’s independent pharmacies is expanding with a new division dedicated to advancing the interests of independent long-term care pharmacy providers.
The National Community Pharmacists Association on Monday announced the creation of its long-term care pharmacies division, which “[will] target legislative and regulatory issues faced by pharmacies servicing LTC facilities.” NCPA has tapped Susan Janeczko, a former clinician at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to serve as director of long-term care policy and regulatory affairs.
Under Janeczko’s direction, the group plans to continue and expand recent LTC advocacy efforts, including:
- Providing a community pharmacy perspective to CMS on the potential impacts of proposed short-cycle dispensing rules;
- Working to find a compromise on the LTC nurse-as-agent issue that ensures patients get needed medications in a timely manner; and
- Submitting recommendations to ensure the smooth implementation of e-prescribing rules in LTC settings.
Joseph Harmison, NCPA president and pharmacy owner, said the new division builds on NCPA’s reputation as the go-to advocate for independent community pharmacies and their patients, enhancing its “LTC efforts to provide focused advocacy for independent LTC pharmacies.”
“Independent LTC pharmacy providers’ interests do not always align with publicly traded competitors in this space,” Harmison said. “Policy discussions are sometimes dominated by giant long-term care corporations. With the launch of this new division, that is no longer the case. NCPA looks forward to advocating for and partnering with independent LTC pharmacies through this initiative.”
Walmart, Humana unveil new Medicare Part D prescription drug offering
BENTONVILLE , Ark. (Oct. 1) Walmart and Humana on Friday unveiled a new Medicare Part D prescription drug offering designed to help both companies gain market share and save money for those enrolled in the program.
Co-branded as the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan, the program involves a $14.80 monthly premium that is less than half the weighted 2010 national average, generic drug co-payments as low as $2 at Walmart pharmacies and no co-payments for select generics filled via Humana’s RightSource home-delivery service. Humana and Walmart said the program has the potential to save Medicare Part D enrollees as much as $450 annually.
“People are more likely to take the medications prescribed for them when they can afford those medications,” said William Fleming, PharmD, VP Humana Pharmacy Solutions. “And adhering to prescription-drug regimens can enable people to be healthier and prevent future illness. At Humana, we believe that this prevention helps people live healthier lives and achieve lifelong well-being.”
John Agwunobi, M.D., president of Walmart’s Health and Wellness division said Walmart is uniquely qualified to help lower the cost of prescriptions because it is the world’s largest retailer.
“We know every dollar counts, especially when you live on a fixed income. We believe no one should have to choose between buying their groceries or their medications,” Agwunobi said.
He called the program an example of Walmart’s commitment to help people save money so they can live better.
It is also an example of how Walmart can bring more shoppers to its store. There are an estimated 18 million people enrolled in the Medicare Part D program, but that figure is forecast to grow to 26 million by 2015. Open enrollment in the program begins Nov. 15 and continues through the end of the year, and Humana and Walmart are undertaking an extensive media relations and marketing campaign to drive awareness and education. A key element involves kiosks in some 3,000 stores which will occasionally be staffed by Humana representatives.
Teva unveils mid-stage clinical trial results for MS drug
JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Active Biotech announced promising results from a mid-stage trial of laquinimod, a once-daily oral treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
The companies released results of a phase-2 extension study of the drug indicating that it was safe for use in patients, but also reduced lesions that are a marker of disease activity by 52%. In addition, the study indicated that the drug reduced relapses of the disease and did not show evidence of suppression of the immune system. Results of the study were published online in the journal Multiple Sclerosis.
The two companies expect to see results of two phase-3 trials of the drug next year. The Food and Drug Administration gave fast-track designation to the drug in February 2009.