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Rite Aid acquires RediClinic

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid on Thursday announced it has acquired Houston-based RediClinic, one of the nation’s leading operators of retail clinics. RediClinic currently operates 30 clinics in the greater Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas. Through the acquisition, RediClinic will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Rite Aid. 

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

“RediClinic is a pioneer and a leader in the retail clinic industry, having provided high-quality, convenient and affordable health care to nearly one and a half million people since opening its first clinic in 2005,” stated Rite Aid chairman and CEO John Standley. “Retail clinics play a critical role in today’s health care delivery system and will play an important role in Rite Aid’s overall health and wellness strategy. We are committed to working with RediClinic to expand its current footprint in Texas and, in the near future, begin to bring its expertise in delivering convenient healthcare and wellness programs to Rite Aid customers in select Rite Aid markets.”

RediClinics are staffed by board certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who are trained and licensed to treat common conditions and provide preventive services, in collaboration with local physicians who are affiliated with a leading healthcare system in each market. Patients can be treated for more than 30 common medical conditions and RediClinic’s clinicians are able to write prescriptions for these conditions when appropriate.

Additionally, RediClinics provide a broad range of preventive services, including screenings, medical tests, immunizations and basic physical exams; and the company’s Weigh Forward weight/lifestyle management program is offered at RediClinics and licensed to other providers.

“Through our new relationship with Rite Aid, RediClinic is well positioned for continued growth in Texas and other states,” noted RediClinic CEO Web Golinkin. “Rite Aid enables us to leverage our many years of experience in retail healthcare to the benefit of patients throughout the U.S., and we look forward to working with the Rite Aid team to deliver on our shared mission of helping people live and stay well.”

 

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Coalition stresses more time for state implementation of AMP-based FULs

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — Emphasizing implementation challenges that could impact patient access to pharmacy services, a coalition is urging Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to allow a one-year transition period for states to fully implement the Medicaid average manufacturer’s price-based federal upper limits for prescription medications.

The American Pharmacists Association, Food Marketing Institute, Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Healthcare Distribution Management Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and the National Community Pharmacists Association signed the letter.

“Given CMS’ expectation that states adjust both the drug reimbursement and dispensing fees for Medicaid reimbursement by July 2014, we are concerned that many states are not ready to make such a quick transition,” the groups stated in the letter.  “Therefore we are requesting that CMS allow states a transition period for implementation of the FULs and corresponding dispensing fee changes to be one year from the time the states have everything they need for implementation from CMS.”

In November 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced final publication of the National Average Drug Acquisition Costs and indicated that the final AMP-based FULs would be published in July 2014.  CMS also stated that the final AMP rule would be released in May 2014. However, there are concerns that the final rule release date may be delayed. But CMS has maintained that the July 2014 publication of the final AMP-based FULs is a hard deadline and CMS expects immediate state implementation of those new FULs.

“While CMS may be ready to implement changes to the ingredient side of the formula immediately in July 2014, states face additional obstacles that hinder their ability to be so expedient. Most states require legislative or regulatory changes, have short legislative sessions this year that do not allow for Medicaid reimbursement changes, will have to do a cost-of-dispensing-fee study prior to implementing a dispensing fee change, and/or will have to file a State Plan Amendment to implement such a change,” the letter stated.

The groups that signed the letter have long-held that AMP is an inaccurate benchmark for pharmacy reimbursement, and there is no correlation between the weighted AMP and pharmacy acquisition costs.

In the letter, the organizations also cited a September 2013 letter by the National Association of Medicaid Directors to CMS requesting that CMS provide states with a transition period of up to one year for implementation of AMP-based FULs in order to protect access to pharmacy services for Medicaid beneficiaries.

“While we remain hopeful that CMS will utilize the rulemaking process to implement Medicaid pharmacy provisions in a manner that will ensure that pharmacies are not reimbursed below cost, we are still concerned with the flawed AMP-based methodology and CMS’ timeline for implementing the new AMP-based FULs,” the groups concluded in the letter.  

 

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Walgreens increases quarterly dividend by 14.5%

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The board of directors of Walgreens on Wednesday declared a regular quarterly dividend of 31.5 cents per share, a 14.5% increase over the year ago dividend.

The dividend is payable June 12, 2014, to shareholders of record May 21, 2014. 

Walgreens has paid a dividend in 326 straight quarters (i.e., more than 81 years) and has raised its dividend for 38 consecutive years. Over the last five years, Walgreens annual dividend rate has increased from 45 cents per share to $1.26 per share, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of nearly 23%.

 

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