HEALTH

Praising senator, pharmacy groups plead for patient choice in Tricare legislation

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Speaking with one voice, the nation’s largest chain and independent pharmacy groups gave a thumbs-up Monday to recent efforts by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., to preserve the right of military members and their dependents to obtain their prescriptions through a retail pharmacy without penalty.

The message of support came from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association. The two organizations co-authored a letter thanking Lautenberg for his continued leadership in congressional efforts to protect Tricare beneficiaries’ access to retail pharmacies.

The joint letter applauded the New Jersey Democrat for offering a Sense of Congress amendment expressing the Senate’s support for beneficiary choice in the military health program, which covers some 9 million members of the military and their families. Lautenberg has been a leading voice in Congress for legislation that would ensure Tricare beneficiaries do not face increased cost-sharing if they choose to fill their prescriptions and/or obtain other professional health services at a retail pharmacy, rather than at a base pharmacy or through mail order.

 

“We believe the choice of where to obtain prescription medications is best left to Tricare beneficiaries,” stated the letter, jointly signed by NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA acting EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey.

 

 

ATricare co-payment freeze provision already passed the House of Representatives under the leadership of House Armed Service Committee chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and ranking member Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif. That measure prohibited a pharmacy co-pay increase. Members of the Senate are slated to debate their version of the Defense Authorization bill, which includes funding for Tricare, but the legislation likely won’t be taken up until after the November elections.

 

 

“As the Defense authorization moves towards final enactment, we will be seeking language specifically prohibiting co-pay increases to best protect beneficiaries’ access to their retail pharmacies,” noted NACDS and NCPA in their letter.

 

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Pfizer recalls lot of ThermaCare HeatWraps Menstrual

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer’s over-the-counter division recalled one lot of a ThermaCare product over the possibility of leaks.

 

Pfizer Consumer Healthcare announced Friday the voluntary recall of lot number E06931 of its ThermaCare HeatWraps Menstrual product and notified the Food and Drug Administration.

 

 

The company said possible leaks in the wraps could cause skin injury, such as irritation and burning.

 

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AstraZeneca-Bristol drug just as effective as generic on market, trial results show

BY Alaric DeArment

STOCKHOLM An investigational diabetes drug works as well as a generic already on the market, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial announced Friday by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

 

The two companies said phase-3 trial results showed that their investigational drug dapagliflozin combined with the widely available generic metformin was as effective as glipizide combined with metformin, compared with metformin alone. In addition, patients in the dapagliflozin group experienced weight loss, compared with weight gain in those taking glipizide, as well as a reduced number of patients experiencing abnormally low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia.

 

 

Results from the study were presented at the 46th annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

 

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