PHARMACY

NCPA sets up insurance marketplace web resource for member independents

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Monday unveiled the Insurance Exchange webpage to help pharmacy staff respond to and engage patients about the new insurance marketplaces. Access to the resources is available to any NCPA member via the members-only section of www.ncpanet.org. 

“The Affordable Care Act may be controversial, but there is no disputing that it represents a significant change to the healthcare landscape,” stated Douglas Hoey, CEO NCPA. “What distinguishes America’s more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies is their focus on patient care, and NCPA constantly works to strengthen that relationship through member-only benefit offerings," he said. “Pharmacists have the flexibility to take an active role in helping patients find the right plan for them in the marketplaces.” 

The NCPA Insurance Exchanges website contains answers to frequently asked questions, pharmacy-specific resources, patient outreach information, downloadable documents and patient-centric information. This includes such features as a comparison between the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicare Part D, and information about special requirements some exchanges might have for participation in enrollment activities.

In addition, the webpage has exclusive NCPA marketing materials intended for use by pharmacies with patients.

 

 

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Ariz. anti-prescription drug abuse program receives award

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. — The National Criminal Justice Association has recognized a program to combat prescription drug abuse in Arizona as the best such program in the west of the country.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy said the Arizona Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative received the NCJA’s 2013 Western Region Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award. The program involves state agencies and organizations, including the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.

The program includes strategies to reduce illicit acquisition and diversion of medications, and educate healthcare providers about best practices in prescribing and handling controlled substance prescription drugs. It is currently in a pilot stage and active in Yavapai, Pinal and Graham-Greenlee counties. Those counties have seen significant increases in the numbers of prescribers, pharmacists and law enforcement officials who have registered for the state’s prescription monitoring program, and Arizona’s is one of 16 state PMPs that participates in the NABP’s PMP InterConnect data-sharing program.

 

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FDA approves Genentech’s Perjeta for early-stage breast cancer

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug for treating early-stage breast cancer before surgery, the agency said Monday.

The FDA announced the approval of Genentech’s Perjeta (pertuzumab) for the new usage, known as neo-adjuvant breast cancer treatment. The drug was already approved last year for certain breast cancers that had spread to other parts of the body. The new usage is intended for patients with breast cancer that includes increased amounts of the HER2 protein — as 20% of breast cancer cases do — whose disease is locally advanced and who are at high risk of the cancer spreading elsewhere in the body.

"We are seeing a significant shift in the treatment paradigm for early-stage breast cancer," FDA Office of Hematology and Oncology Products director Richard Pazdur said. "By making effective therapies available to high-risk patients in the earliest disease setting, we may delay or prevent cancer recurrences."

 

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