PHARMACY

Reports: New Maine law allows drug importation

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A new law in Maine will allow consumers to purchase drugs by mail order from some pharmacies overseas, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the law, a first, had sparked lawsuits from drug companies, who say the law will threaten patient safety by opening the U.S. supply chain to counterfeit and adulterated medications. Supporters of the law, including Republican Gov. Paul LePage, say drug makers are more concerned about losing money from the law.

The law formalizes a practice that has existed in the state for several years. According to the Journal, the city of Portland, Maine, was able to save $3.2 million between 2004 and 2012 by going through the broker CanaRx.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration prohibits importation of drugs, and the agency would not comment on the law when asked by Journal reporters. The newspaper noted that Americans pay more for drugs than people in countries where governments set price ceilings or negotiate prices with drug manufacturers.

 

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Giant-Carlisle opens store in retirement community

BY Alaric DeArment

CARLISLE, Pa. — Giant Food Stores has opened its first small pharmacy in a Valley Forge, Pa., retirement community, the supermarket chain said.

The Carlisle, Pa.-based supermarket banner, owned by Ahold USA, opened the pharmacy at the Shannondell, a nationally recognized continuing care community.

"This pharmacy offers the residents a selection of convenience items and top-quality pharmacy service they have come to appreciate at the larger Giant Food Stores located across the street, right within their own community."

 

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Most pharmacies can take e-prescriptions as e-prescribers jump nearly eightfold, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — More than half of prescribers are writing prescriptions electronically, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Washington-based Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, published in The American Journal of Managed Care, found that e-prescribers have increased nearly eightfold since four years ago. The jump was attributed to provisions in the 2009 economic stimulus bill that provided incentives for Medicare prescribers to use electronic prescribing. In numerical terms, that means the share of doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants using e-prescriptions increased from 7% to 54%, or 47,000 to 398,000.

Meanwhile, 43,000 pharmacies were able to accept electronic prescriptions at the start of the study, a figure that increased to 59,000 by December 2012. In 2009, 61% of rural pharmacies could take e-prescriptions, compared with 75%, but the gap closed last year, as the percentage of rural and urban pharmacies taking e-prescriptions increased to 93% and 94%, respectively.

 

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