PHARMACY

NCPA lobbies for MTM coverage under Medicare Part D

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday urged U.S. Senators on the Senate Finance Committee to support a proposal — scheduled for a vote as soon as Thursday — intended to expand coverage in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program of medication therapy management programs.

“Community pharmacists are highly trained medication experts and expanding the MTM services that they provide can achieve better health outcomes and lower overall costs,” Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO said. “The challenges of not adhering to prescription drug therapy are real and expensive, and pharmacist-delivered MTM services can make a world of difference for patients.”

The change is proposed by Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Robert Casey, D-Penn., as an amendment to legislation before the Senate committee that would temporarily prevent cuts to Medicare payments to physicians. The Roberts-Casey amendment would require the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to study whether the coverage of MTM services for patients with one chronic condition would reduce Medicare spending overall through the avoidance of costlier treatments such as hospitalizations. If CMS determines that the expansion in coverage would lower costs, then the expansion of MTM coverage would be required. Currently, only those patients suffering from specific multiple chronic conditions are eligible for MTM services.

Research indicates that the cost savings from MTM can be significant. One Minnesota study found a 12-to-1 return-on-investment for MTM.  In North Carolina, MTM programs helping seniors produced a 13-to-1 return.  

MTM involves pharmacists working with patients to review and monitor their medication plan to maximize its effectiveness and avoid potential health problems, ultimately helping to reduce costs in the long run.  

The Roberts-Casey amendment stems from bipartisan legislation (S. 557, the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act) introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and cosponsored by Casey, Roberts and 28 other senators.

 

 

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FDA approves generic versions of Cymbalta

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic versions of a drug used to treat depression and other conditions, the agency said Wednesday.

The FDA announced the approval of generic duloxetine delayed-release capsules manufactured by Aurobindo Pharma, Dr. Reddy’s Labs, Lupin, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Torrent Pharmaceuticals.

The drug is a generic version of Eli Lilly’s Cymbalta. Cymbalta had sales of $4.7 billion in 2012, making it the fifth top-selling drug that year, according to IMS Health. In addition to depression, Cymbalta is used to treat pain resulting from diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia and other causes. Most of Lilly’s patents on Cymbalta expire this year or within the next couple of years, though its patent covering the use of the drug for fibromyalgia won’t expire until 2019, according to FDA records. 

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Warner Chilcott settles with Zydus over generic Asacol HD

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN — A subsidiary of Actavis has reached a settlement with a generic drug maker that will allow the launch of a generic version of a treatment for ulcerative colitis in 2015.

Actavis said its Warner Chilcott subsidiary had settled with Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA and Cadila Healthcare over Zydus’ generic version of Asacol HD (mesalamine) delayed-release tablets.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Warner Chilcott will give Zydus a royalty-bearing license to market its generic product starting in November 2015, pending its approval by the Food and Drug Administration. If Zydus does not receive FDA approval, it will be allowed to market an authorized generic version of the drug starting in July 2016.

Asacol HD had sales of $122 million during the quarter that ended on June 30, according to Warner Chilcott.

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