PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA seek stimulus funds to build health IT, e-Rx infrastructure

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The organizations representing the nation’s chain and independent drug stores have requested a chunk of the $2 billion that the White House has set aside in its economic stimulus package to help spur the adoption of electronic medical records and healthcare IT.

 

In a letter to Department of Health and Human Services health IT coordinator David Blumenthal, National Association of Chain Drug Stores VP government affairs Kevin Nicholson and National Community Pharmacists Association SVP government affairs John Coster wrote, “As the most consumer-accessible health care provider, pharmacy’s critical role should be recognized in the development of an interoperable healthcare delivery system.”

 

 

Indeed, pharmacies are a first line of health care for many patients, providing everything from OTC remedies to – increasingly – vaccinations and clinics. For that reason, they will need to be able to communicate efficiently and effectively with other healthcare stakeholders, including hospitals and physicians.

 

 

The big chains have sufficient size and scope to adopt e-prescribing and other healthcare information technology, but regional chains and independent pharmacies may not, and Nicholson and Coster asked in their letter for priority consideration for smaller stores and chains. For many regional chains and independents, a few thousand dollars here and there could go a long way toward modernizing the American healthcare system.

 

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NACDS, NCPA praise Senate’s inclusion of Medicaid reimbursement relief in healthcare reform proposal

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Two organizations have praised the Senate Finance Committee’s inclusion of Medicaid reimbursement relief in its healthcare reform proposals.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association hailed the inclusion of the policy by committee chairman Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

“While this process is only beginning, and legislation is being crafted, we are pleased that chairman Baucus, senator Grassley and Finance Committee members have recognized the implications on patient access that threaten the ability of pharmacies to provide healthcare services to the neediest populations, especially those in rural and inner-city areas with higher percentages of Medicaid patients,” NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson and NCPA executive VP and CEO Bruce Roberts said in a joint statement.

The proposal would increase the percentage of the federal upper limits from 250% to 300% of the weighted average of the most recent average manufacturer prices for pharmaceutically and therapeutically equivalent multiple-source drugs available nationally through commercial pharmacies.

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Pfizer develops free medication program for unemployed Americans

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Amid an economic environment of increasing unemployment, a large drug maker has started a program to offer medicines to unemployed Americans for free.

Pfizer announced the MAINTAIN plan to help eligible unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their health insurance continue receiving Pfizer medicines for free.

“We all know people who have been laid off recently and have lost their health insurance, making it difficult for them to pay for health care,” Pfizer regional president worldwide pharmaceuticals Jorge Puente stated. “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during these challenging economic times.”

The program, whose name stands for Medicines Assistance for Those who Are In Need, will be open for enrollment through Dec. 31 for Americans who have become unemployed since Jan. 1, regardless of prior family income.

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