PHARMACY

NCPA applauds Reps. Berry, Jones for urging prompt pay law enforcement by Part D plans

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. An effort by two representatives to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to crack down on practices that allegedly have driven small pharmacies out of business has drawn compliments from an organization representing independents.

The National Community Pharmacists Association praised Reps. Marion Berry, D-Alaska, and Walter Jones, R-N.C., for urging the CMS to force all Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to fully comply with the prompt pay provision in the Medicare Improvements for Patietns and Providers Act of 2008, which went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year. The two representatives, who wrote the provision, are urging CMS to use its regulatory powers to stop “what appears to be the improper and illegal imposition of extraneous fees and charges on Part D network pharmacies.”

“[Berry and Jones] worked hard to get legislation that banned an unscrupulous business tactic of certain Part D plans; that is, deliberately lining their pockets by earning interest off the ‘float’ from delaying payment to pharmacies for prescription drug claims,” NCPA CEO Bruce Roberts said. “Many independent pharmacies were forced to take out loans and lines of credits maintain cash flow. For pharmacies that were already in a financially precarious position, the delayed payments were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back as they went out of business.”

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Pennsylvania boosts pharmacists’ role; NACDS hails bid for collaboration

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a gesture hailed by retail pharmacy advocates, the Keystone State is moving to expand the role its pharmacists play in improving patient health and outcomes.

The move comes with enactment of a Pennsylvania law, H.B. 1041, which will open new opportunities for collaborative medication therapy management between physicians and pharmacists on behalf of patients in a community pharmacy setting. Previously, such team approaches were permitted only in such institutional settings as hospitals and nursing homes in the state. 

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores had high praise for the new law, calling it an “important victory,” and citing the efforts made by the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association toward its passage. “With the enactment of this legislation, Pennsylvania has said ‘yes’ to improving the health and lives of patients, and to reducing overall healthcare costs,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “This new law recognizes the expertise of pharmacists, the accessibility of community pharmacy and the ability of pharmacists to help patients properly manage their health conditions for the well-being of patients and for the good of society.”

Pennsylvania is the 33rd state to allow collaborative drug therapy management in the community setting, according to NACDS research. “Nine states allow it in institutional settings only, and eight do not allow it at all,” noted the group Friday.

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Taro receives FDA approval for Kytril generic

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. Taro Pharmaceutical Industries has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market its generic version of a drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients on chemotherapy, the Israeli generic drug maker said Friday.

The FDA approved Taro’s granisetron hydrochloride tablets in the 1-mg strength. The tablets are a generic version of Roche’s Kytril tablets.

Granisetron tablets had sales of around $15 million in 2009, according to unnamed industry sources cited by Taro.

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