PHARMACY

NCPA: Drug manufacturers should pay rebates in DoD’s Tricare program

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association expressed support of the U.S. Department of Defense’s efforts to collect the same manufacturer rebates for the Tricare retail pharmacy program that are applicable to prescriptions filled at Tricare mail-order pharmacies and military treatment facilities.

Tricare beneficiaries may lose face-to-face interaction with their pharmacists if such reimbursements are not provided to them, NCPA said. Currently, prescriptions used in the Tricare retail pharmacy network are subject to federal ceiling prices under law. NCPA believes that the DoD shouldn’t be denied billions of dollars in rebates from drug manufacturers, or make Tricare members solely use mail-order prescriptions.

“The Department of Defense provides prescription drug benefits to active duty, reserve, and retired military families and wants to reduce cost, maintain access and produce the best health outcomes possible,” said Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “However, drug manufacturers undercut those goals by not paying their fair share of federal ceiling prices. Studies indicate pharmacists are critical to patients in impacting medication adherence, but if drug manufacturers continue to only pay rebates for mail order prescriptions then that won’t occur. The Department of Defense should hold the drug manufacturers accountable for all their financial obligations.

“Without changes, the choice Tricare beneficiaries take for granted about where to get their prescription drugs might fall by the wayside as increased use of mail order would become an unfortunate, but possible reality,” added Roberts.

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Students celebrate Rx Day

BY DSN STAFF

OLYMPIA, Wash. —Students from the schools of pharmacy at the University of Washington, in Seattle, and Washington State University, in Pullman, Wash., converged on the Washington state capitol in Olympia to mark the annual Pharmacy Day on Feb. 9. Students and pharmacists met with state legislators and offered them and their staff free health screenings.

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Health Mart hits critical mass

BY DSN STAFF

SAN FRANCISCO —Chances are good that there’s a Health Mart in your community. Some four years after its reinvention as a cutting-edge, market-savvy pharmacy franchiser by owner McKesson, the hard-driving independent drug store network now operates in all 50 states and comprises one of the largest and fastest-growing pharmacy brands in America. With guidance from McKesson VP and Health Mart president Tim Canning, and a team of experienced marketing and merchandising hands, Health Mart has come a long way from its days as a dormant, 300-store remnant of the old FoxMeyer wholesale drug network purchased by McKesson in the early 1990s.

In January, Health Mart surged past another milestone when Trudell Health Mart Pharmacy in Dearborn, Mich., became the 2,500th independent pharmacy to join the franchise. That marks an 850% jump in store count over the past four years, according to McKesson.

“We joined Health Mart to take advantage of the innovative marketing, operational and patient care programs available. Then we found out we were the 2,500th pharmacy to go blue and green, which is exciting because we just celebrated 80 years of serving the community,” said Trudell owner Tom Fakih.

Among the reasons Trudell joined the franchise, Fakih said, were “new services and programs that help us better care for, educate and inform our patients,” including Health Mart’s recent “Health Across America” campaign to test people for diabetes risk.

To maintain its growth momentum, Health Mart has begun leveraging its national scale and reach. Early this year, the chain launched a national TV ad campaign tied to such major events as the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympic Games and the Academy Awards.

“Being ranked highest in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, coupled with our growth to 2,500 pharmacies, is a further demonstration of Health Mart’s commitment to the local Health Mart pharmacists,” Canning said.

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