PHARMACY

Pharmacy First deploys Ateb med sync program ‘Time My Meds’

BY Michael Johnsen
SHAWNEE MISSION, Kan. — Pharmacy First and Ateb on Thursday announced a partnership to offer Ateb's Time My Meds, an integrated medication synchronization solution, to Pharmacy First members.
 
By implementing Ateb's Time My Meds, Pharmacy First members will witness significant, measurable impact on increasing prescription fills and improving quality measures. Patients enrolled in Ateb's Time My Meds program reach above Medicare five-star PDC score thresholds for diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol, Ateb noted.
 
Ateb's solutions will enable Pharmacy First members to transition their pharmacies to the Appointment Based Model which increases patient engagement and provides the opportunity to offer additional paid services. Plus, by converting their pharmacy practices to a proactive workflow, pharmacies can predict when patients on chronic medications will visit the pharmacy for their prescription refills, thereby, improving inventory management. In addition to these benefits, pharmacies also have the ability to provide ongoing patient management through Ateb's online Patient Management Access Portal.
 
To complement the Time My Meds program, Pharmacy First members may also bundle Ateb's outbound notifications solution, which drives script growth and improves patient adherence through automated patient outreach methods.  Based on the patient's preference, these notifications, displayed in real-time, are delivered via calls and text messages.  
 
To see information about the potential impact of Ateb’s solution, see the infographic below. 
 
 
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Medicaid AMP: The vigilance continues

BY Steve Anderson

Ever since the Federal Register published the final Covered Outpatient Drugs Final Rule (which directs pharmacy Medicaid reimbursement according to the average manufacturer price, or “AMP,” model) on Jan. 21, NACDS has been evaluating the rule and determining appropriate actions.

NACDS has done so according to two key principles that have guided the Association’s actions over nearly a decade related to this issue: that NACDS operates as a member-centric trade association, and that the rule and its implementation must be viewed through the lens of its effects on patients’ access to vital medications and pharmacy services. That was the spirit of NACDS’ initial statement on the final rule posted on January 21, the timeline of this issue’s decade-long history, the update that we provided on our consideration of the final rule, and various analytical and informational resources that we have provided along the way.

Having discussed the final rule extensively with the NACDS Policy Council, the NACDS Executive Committee and the NACDS Board of Directors – as well as with diverse NACDS members at the NACDS Regional Chain Conference and NACDS Annual Meeting – we wanted to provide an update on where we stand at this point on an issue that will continue to play out during the rule’s implementation.

First, it is clear that one of NACDS’ top priorities must be to actively monitor and analyze the implementation of the rule – including actions by state governments and by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As states make legislative and regulatory changes in light of the final rule – to implement AMP-based federal upper limits (FULs), cost-based reimbursement for brands, and professional dispensing fee reimbursement – and as CMS considers related state plan amendments, vigilance will be essential to ensure these changes are conducive to patient access. As a result of advocacy by NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association, the final rule includes important provisions related to drug reimbursement and professional dispensing fees and it will be imperative to ensure these provisions are implemented properly through our ongoing state advocacy initiatives.

Second, NACDS member companies and NACDS policy and economic experts are continuing to evaluate the specific effects of the AMP-based FULs on reimbursement. We will maintain a keen eye to identify any problems that arise as this process unfolds.

In that regard, it remains apparent that the successful litigation brought by NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association in 2007 – which blocked the original rule that would have implemented the Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 – was essential for patient access. PwC estimated that the original rule proposed in 2006 would have led to the forced closure of 11,000 pharmacies – 20 percent of all stores. The current Covered Outpatient Drugs Final Rule is expected to reduce pharmacy Medicaid reimbursement payments, when compared to payments prior to the implementation of this final rule; however, the reductions should not go to the extremes that had been proposed in 2006.

To summarize, this decade-long effort is progressing to a focus on state-level advocacy in those states in which legislative and regulatory changes are necessary; on the treatment of SPAs submitted by states to CMS; and on the ongoing evaluation of the economic impact of the final rule and its implementation. We have greater clarity on this issue than we did at the beginning of the year, but in many ways it is still a work in progress.

As has been the case for the past near-decade, NACDS will continue to evaluate all of these dynamics according to its member-centric approach, and according to any ramifications for patient access.  


Steve Anderson is the president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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ZappRx taps former Walgreens specialty exec to drive growth

BY David Salazar
BOSTON — Specialty prescribing platform ZappRx announced Wednesday that Lorrie Carr would be joining the company as its chief commercial officer. Most recently, Carr was Walgreens’ divisional VP enterprise specialty sales and product management. Carr will oversee ZappRx’s commercialization efforts as it launches and looks to expand its specialty prescribing and management platform. 
 
“Lorrie is joining ZappRx at the perfect time as we initiate the launch of our platform within multiple specialty categories and deepen our data footprint," ZappRx founder and CEO Zoë Barry said. “Her expertise in the biopharmaceutical and specialty pharmacy markets will be essential as we expand our relationships and integrations with specialty pharmacies and other industry partners.”
 
The company is launching at a time when specialty drugs make up 40% of drug spending and 2% of all written prescriptions. ZappRx looks to modernize and simplify the way specialty medications are managed. 
 
“I am joining ZappRx at a time when the specialty pharmaceutical industry is at a critical inflection point,” Carr said. “Both the number of available therapies and the costs of these drugs have increased significantly over the last several years. Yet drug manufacturers and other stakeholders lack the real-time, clinical data necessary to measure and improve the fulfillment process, sales performance, and outcomes. ZappRx is taking an innovative approach to improving patient access to specialty therapy while generating critical information for manufacturers and payers.”
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