PHARMACY

PBM reform legislation backed by consumer groups

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON In a joint letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, three consumer groups are backing transparency requirements for pharmacy benefit managers in healthcare reform.

The Consumer Federation of America, U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices sent a joint letter to Pelosi supporting the provision, authored by Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and included in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.

“The need for PBM reform legislation is straightforward and compelling. PBMs represent the most rapidly growing segment of healthcare spending, and yet they are the only part of the healthcare market that is still unregulated.  Because of the lack of regulation PBMs engage in fraudulent and deceptive practices, resulting in several enforcement actions by a coalition of state attorneys generals that have secured over $371 million in fines and penalties. At the same time the profits of the three major PBMs has skyrocketed to almost $3 billion annually,” the letter states.

In response to the letter, Bruce Roberts, National Community Pharmacy Association EVP and CEO issued at statement that read:

“The momentum is growing to finally force PBMs to play by the same set of rules as everyone else. For too long these administrators of prescription drug plans have operated in secrecy. That’s especially true in the case of payments they command from drug manufacturers in exchange for promoting one product over another. And any discounts PBMs do negotiate are hidden and withheld from health plan sponsors (governments, employers, etc.), patients and pharmacies. Thanks to Congressman Weiner there is legislative language in the healthcare reform bill to essentially open the PBM books and bring transparency into the process. NCPA strongly supports this provision.”

A full copy of the letter can be accessed at http://www.reducedrugprices.org/read.asp?news=4143.

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Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab to open 11 new sites

BY Antoinette Alexander

LAS VEGAS Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab, which operates a network of retail health clinics for over-the-road professional truck drivers, announced on Thursday that emergency room physician Royce Brough has received licenses for 11 sites throughout six states.

Brough, a practicing emergency room physician with more than 35 years of experience, will be opening a location in Oklahoma City, Okla., within the next 90 days followed by Dallas in the first quarter 2010. The remaining sites, to be located in California, New Mexico, New Jersey and Indiana, will be open “as quickly as possible.”

“Keeping with our mission to deliver convenient healthcare to professional drivers coast to coast we are pleased to be working with Dr. Royce Brough to grow a national network of velocity through franchising and licensing,” stated Bob Perry, president of Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab and vice chair of the American Transportation Association Safety Management Council’s Health & Wellness Working Group. “Dr. Brough is an accomplished physician and we are fortunate to have him on board with Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab.”

Brough is also founder of The Brough Group and Hospital Physicians of America.

Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab began offering franchising and licensing opportunities within a limited number of markets in February 2009. Since then the company has secured sites in Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois and Georgia.

Through an exclusive partnership with Pilot Travel Centers, the company provides cost-effective convenient care medical services including DOT physicals and compliance, wellness programs, sleep apnea studies and treatment and nutritional products for drivers. Pilot is the largest operator of truck stops in the United States with more than 300 locations in 41 states. Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab has planned for a total of 80 sites throughout the United States located exclusively at Pilot Travel Centers in order to meet the needs of the 4.2 million over-the-road professional drivers.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb extends deadline for Medarex acquisition

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb has extended its acquisition offer for a biotech company that uses a proprietary technology platform to develop treatments for chronic diseases, Bristol announced Thursday.

The New York-based pharmaceutical giant announced that its tender offer for Medarex would expire at midnight on Wednesday. It had originally been scheduled to expire Monday. Medarex develops monoclonal antibodies for cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases using its UltiMAb technology.

Bristol said that more than 11.5 million shares of Medarex had been tendered and that Medarex shareholders would receive $16 per share upon the closing of the deal.

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