PHARMACY

Mississippi Division of Medicaid’ draws industry praise for reversing proposed cuts

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Mississippi’s state Medicaid authority has reversed proposed cuts to the program’s reimbursements, eliciting praise from the retail pharmacy lobby.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association heralded the decision by the Mississippi Division of Medicaid Monday. Had the cuts remained, pharmacies would have had their reimbursements under the program reduced by 15%, which the groups said would force many community pharmacies to limit their participation in Medicaid or drop out altogether.

“The Mississippi Division of Medicaid wisely backed off draconian cuts to pharmacy reimbursements that would greatly compromise the ability of pharmacies to continue serving Medicaid patients,” a joint statement by NACDS CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA CEO Bruce Roberts read. “With the ongoing struggles to emerge from a deep economic recession that has increased the Medicaid rolls across the country, any policy that undermines the healthcare needs of those economically disadvantaged Americans is badly timed and will ultimately cost more money in the long run. If Medicaid patients can’t get their prescription drugs from pharmacies, their health can be compromised further and they will often seek the more expensive emergency rooms and doctor’s offices as a remedy.”

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Pennsylvania boosts pharmacists’ role; NACDS hails bid for collaboration

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a gesture hailed by retail pharmacy advocates, the Keystone State is moving to expand the role its pharmacists play in improving patient health and outcomes.

The move comes with enactment of a Pennsylvania law, H.B. 1041, which will open new opportunities for collaborative medication therapy management between physicians and pharmacists on behalf of patients in a community pharmacy setting. Previously, such team approaches were permitted only in such institutional settings as hospitals and nursing homes in the state. 

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores had high praise for the new law, calling it an “important victory,” and citing the efforts made by the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association toward its passage. “With the enactment of this legislation, Pennsylvania has said ‘yes’ to improving the health and lives of patients, and to reducing overall healthcare costs,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “This new law recognizes the expertise of pharmacists, the accessibility of community pharmacy and the ability of pharmacists to help patients properly manage their health conditions for the well-being of patients and for the good of society.”

Pennsylvania is the 33rd state to allow collaborative drug therapy management in the community setting, according to NACDS research. “Nine states allow it in institutional settings only, and eight do not allow it at all,” noted the group Friday.

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Taro receives FDA approval for Kytril generic

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. Taro Pharmaceutical Industries has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market its generic version of a drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients on chemotherapy, the Israeli generic drug maker said Friday.

The FDA approved Taro’s granisetron hydrochloride tablets in the 1-mg strength. The tablets are a generic version of Roche’s Kytril tablets.

Granisetron tablets had sales of around $15 million in 2009, according to unnamed industry sources cited by Taro.

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