PHARMACY

PCMA launches ad campaign to push Senate on biosimilars

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON An organization of the country’s pharmacy benefit managers has launched a new ad campaign to nudge senators on biosimilars.

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association announced Thursday the launch of the campaign, directed at members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, hoping they will include “real” biosimilars legislation as part of healthcare reform.

 

The ad features a photo of a toddler and the caption “Meet the first recipient of an affordable biologic for hemophilia. He’ll be 66 years old when he finally gets it.”

“If this week’s report is accurate that Washington and the drug company lobby have reached some kind of new health reform ‘agreement,’ we sincerely hope that biogenerics is not part of it,” PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt said in a statement. “The drug lobby will truly have reason to celebrate if Washington either ignores biogenerics reform or, worse, establishes a new process that could actually forbid competition for years after patents expire.”

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NBGH recognizes employers that promote healthy living

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON A nonprofit organization has awarded more than 60 employers for promoting healthy living.

The National Business Group on Health announced Wednesday that it had recognized 63 large employers as the winners of the “2009 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles” award.

“We are proud to recognize 63 large employers for their unparalleled commitment to a healthy workplace and for making their employees’ health and well-being a top priority,” NGBH president Helen Darling said. “Employers know first-hand that a healthy workforce is essential to increasing productivity and to maintaining a competitive edge in the new global economy.”

Companies that won the award – given in Platinum, Gold and Silver categories – included Hannaford Supermarkets, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, CVS Caremark, General Mills, Wal-Mart, Cardinal Health, Meijer and Target.

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MinuteClinic becomes participating provider in all CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield plans

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS MinuteClinic is now a participating provider in insurance plans offered by CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the company announced on Wednesday.

Nearly 3.4 million CareFirst members now have in-network access to MinuteClinic healthcare centers located inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in Maryland and portions of northern Virginia in the CareFirst service area.

Previously, MinuteClinic was a participating provider with CareFirst’s preferred provider and federal employee plans in Maryland only.

“This is an important development in the growth of our business in Maryland and northern Virginia as we expand access to care to new customers,” stated Chip Phillips, MinuteClinic president. “By offering high-quality treatment in a convenient setting, we are working with CareFirst to help reduce healthcare insurance expenses for its members, as well as time spent away from members’ families and the workplace.”

MinuteClinic, which is owned by CVS Caremark, has about 500 locations in 25 states.

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