HEALTH

NCPA to CMS: Medicaid reimbursements should adhere to healthcare-reform law provisions

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association is urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to follow guidance that Congress included in the healthcare-reform law in its implementation of a new Medicaid generic drug reimbursement formula based on average manufacturer price, the organization said Tuesday.

CMS recently withdrew provisions that would have dramatically cut Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement to community pharmacies from a previously proposed AMP rule due to an injunction that the NCPA obtained in 2007.

 

In a letter to Congress, the NCPA recommended giving manufacturers more direction in calculating their AMPs, such as requiring them to only include prices paid by wholesalers for drugs subsequently sold at pharmacies; recognizing the ill effect that the NCPA said curtailed generic drug reimbursements would have on retail pharmacies; and setting up a process by which revised federal upper limits resulting from the revised AMP data will be implemented in order to minimize disruption for patients and pharmacies.

 

 

“In many ways, independent community pharmacies are the backbone of Medicaid’s prescription drug benefit,” NCPA acting EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey said. “Pharmacies will become an even more important source of health care-related services for Medicaid beneficiaries as new healthcare reform provisions are implemented.”

 

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CRN awards dietary supplement industry executives at annual meeting

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Jon Benninger of Virgo Publishing, Bill Frankos of Herbalife and John Wise, chief science officer emeritus for Natural Alternatives International were each named 2010 recipients of the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s “Apple Awards” in a ceremony held last week at the association’s annual meeting, CRN announced Monday.

The award represents CRN’s highest honor and is given to executives who have shown long-term dedication and who have made considerable contributions to both CRN and the dietary supplement industry.

Benninger is the director of business development at Virgo Publishing where he is responsible for strategic planning, outreach and advocacy, content development and new business development. With 20 years in the natural products industry, he joined Virgo Publishing in 1995, and is an active member in a number of supplement industry organizations, including CRN. Virgo Publishing produces SupplySide trade shows and several publications, including “Natural Products Insider” and “Natural Products Marketplace.”

Frankos currently serves as SVP global product science, safety and compliance with Herbalife. Prior to joining Herbalife, he served as director of the division of dietary supplement programs at the center for food safety, and the applied nutrition division of the Food and Drug Administration. At the FDA, Frankos was charged with overseeing policy, budget, personnel and administration in addition to the full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. Over the course of his tenure, the agency published the final rule for dietary supplement current good manufacturing practices and implemented guidance for reporting serious adverse events related to supplements.

Wise served as chief science officer for Natural Alternatives International from 2001 until his retirement in 2009. Currently, he consults for NAI and recently formed his own company, Collegiate Sports Nutrition. Prior to his work with NAI, Wise was EVP research and development with United Sciences of America. Wise, whose background includes biochemistry and microbiology, has authored and published in peer-reviewed journals on topics that include immunity and nutrition, and he has presented at more than 1,000 scientific lectures and seminars.

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Axium to distribute Elaprase

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE MARY, Fla. Specialty pharmacy provider Axium Healthcare Pharmacy will serve as a limited distribution provider for a drug to treat a serious genetic disorder, Axium said Monday.

Axium will distribute Shire Human Genetic Therapies’ Elaprase (idursulfase), used to treat Hunter syndrome, also known as mucopolysaccharidosis II. According to the Mayo Clinic, Hunter syndrome causes chains of sugar molecules to build up in the body over time, resulting in mental deficiency and retardation, deformities, deafness and other symptoms. The juvenile-onset form of the disease typically results in death in the early teens to early 20s, while those with the late-onset form live for 20 to 60 years. It mostly affects boys.

“Axium is pleased to be granted the opportunity to be a provider of Elaprase in Puerto Rico,” Axium president and CEO Mark Montgomery said. “This selection continues to build momentum on Axium’s strong clinical programs and our investment in providing solutions for our clients.”

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