PHARMACY

New Mexico state senate passes dispensing fee legislation

BY Adam Kraemer

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The New Mexico state senate this week passed the Prescription Drug Reimbursement Act, SB 425, designed to ensure adequate reimbursement for pharmacy services and preserve patient access to medications.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, and cosponsored by Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming. It directs the Secretary of Human Services to review and adjust the dispensing fee for Medicaid pharmacies based upon average pharmacy operational costs.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores applauded the law, which passed unanimously Tuesday evening in the Public Affairs Committee. “New Mexico pharmacies are a crucial part of the healthcare system, providing medications and valuable counseling on adherence and drug interactions,” stated Dale Tinker, executive director of the New Mexico Pharmacists Association. “Pharmacists are dedicated to serving Medicaid patients, and we thank Sen. Lopez, Sen. Smith, and Chairwoman Dede Feldman [D-Albuquerque] for their leadership on this legislation.”

In New Mexico, the average cost of dispensing a prescription is $9.95, according to a 2007 study by Grant Thornton LLP. The current dispensing fee in New Mexico is $3.65, NACDS reported.

“The unanimous passage of this bill is a great step forward. NACDS applauds the Public Affairs Committee for their commitment to preserving patient access and ensuring adequate reimbursement for pharmacy services,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “We urge the full Senate to pass SB 425, and we encourage Governor Richardson’s administration to support this measure.”

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HealthPort receives SureScripts’ certified approval

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FDA is not ready to pursue authority to approve follow-on biologics

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Food and Drug Administration spokesperson Christopher Kelly recently said that, despite comments from an agency official on Monday, the agency will not submit to Congress a legislative proposal to seek authority to approve generic versions of biotechnology medications, CongressDaily reports.

FDA chief operating officer John Dyer had said on Monday that the agency had begun to draft language for such a proposal. In addition, a congressional aide said that the FDA informed the House Energy and Commerce Committee about plans to submit such a proposal but did not disclose a timeline.

Kelly said that the comments from Dyer resulted from a misunderstanding. Fiscal year 2009 budget documents refer to a legislative proposal that will provide recommendations on an FDA approval process for generic versions of biotech medications. Kelly said that the reference to such a proposal was an “expression by FDA of our interest in moving this forward, not an actual proposal.”

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