PHARMACY

President signs legislation locking in pharmacy choice for TRICARE beneficiaries

BY Jenna Duncan

ALEXANDRIA, Va. President Bush today signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for 2009, making official the a provision that maintains the option for pharmacy choice for TRICARE beneficiaries, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores today announced.

The legislation also assures a freeze on retail pharmacy co-payments that is currently in effect will be extended. 

“Every day the brave men and women in our armed forces, and their families, serve and sacrifice for our nation and deserve a choice when it comes to healthcare services,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson said. “Today’s enactment of this legislation will help ensure TRICARE beneficiaries are not penalized for using their local pharmacy, and enable them to choose where they access their prescription medications and other pharmacy services. 

“In addition to their convenience and accessibility, through personal interaction with beneficiaries, retail pharmacists can help to increase medication compliance, resulting in overall better health outcomes and a potential reduction in spending in other parts of the TRICARE program,” Anderson said. 

Previous reports have shown that TRICARE beneficiaries are more likely to go to retail pharmacies to have prescriptions filled. According to NACDS reports, retail pharmacies have filled more than 55 million TRICARE prescriptions—more than any other pharmacy practice outlet has filled. 

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PHARMACY

Capital Health System, Bristol-Myers Squibb to spread awareness about chronic diseases, prescription drugs

BY Jenna Duncan

PRINCETON, N.J. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Capital Health System have announced that they will co-host a health fair Tuesday, Oct.14, to highlight the importance of managing chronic diseases and disseminate information about assistance programs created to help low-income patients pay for prescription drugs.

The fair is scheduled to start at noon and run until 3 p.m. at the Capital Health System Family Health Center in Trenton. Free wellness screenings will be given and actor Joey Pantoliano will make an appearance and speak about diagnosing and treating depression.

Pantoliano will speak on behalf of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a nationwide network of pharmaceutical makers working to provide assistance to low-income individuals to pay for their medications for chronic illnesses.

Capital Health System also will provide free high blood pressure, diabetes, dyslipidemia and HIV/AIDS screenings, free vision tests, perform height and weight screenings and distribute information about breast, colorectal and prostate cancers.

Other health-related information provided by Capital and Bristol-Myers Squibb at the fair will cover body composition screenings for newborns, breast-feeding information for new mothers as well as bicycle safety training and demos on and car seat installations for small children.

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Appeals court sides with Amgen over Roche anemia drug patent infringement

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Amgen won a case against Roche over a drug for anemia that the latter has tried to get into the United States market in a U.S. appeals court Friday, affirming an Oct. 3 decision by a federal judge in Boston.

Amgen said that Roche’s drug Mircera (methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta) infringed on its patents for the drugs Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) and Epogen (epoetin alfa). Mircera is on the market in Europe, and the Food and Drug Administration approved it for the U.S. market in 2007.

“Amgen is pleased that the Court of Appeals has affirmed the preliminary injunction barring Roche from selling its [peg-erythropoietin] product in the United States in violation of Amgen’s erythropoietin patents,” Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen said in a statement.

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