NACDS applauds Congress’ DIR fee reform letter
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced its support for a letter written to Health and Human Services Secretary Azar, which was written and signed by 50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and led by Rep. Tom Marino and David Loebsack.
The letter is an effort to achieve pro-patient and pro-pharmacy reforms of direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, fees in Medicare Part D. House members stated that DIR fee reforms could lower out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries and make medicine more accessible, which could lead to greater adherence and better health outcomes, the Arlington, V.A.-based company said.
“NACDS is committed to helping bring about a solution to unsustainable DIR fee practices. We appreciate the continued leadership of Congressmen Marino and Loebsack on this issue, and the strong engagement of the House members who signed this important letter,” Steven C. Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS, said. “We are hopeful that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will maintain the momentum that it has signaled to move toward a workable solution.”
Originally created to capture and report rebate amounts paid by manufacturers at the end of the plan year, DIR fees have come to be a catch-all category used increasingly by plans to include various pharmacy price concessions, such as fees related to performance-based or participation in a preferred network, the company said.
The Congressional letter states, “The unpredictable variability in the use of fees provides little visibility for the Medicare program, as well as for participating retail pharmacies, particularly for performance-based fees and the goals necessary to achieve specified targets to ‘earn back’ fee amounts.”
House members are urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to pursue the reforms that it has signaled, as well as to consider other policies that promote a quality-driven healthcare system that also have been urged by the NACDS.
Linking the supply chain
Anda hosted their 11th Annual Supply Chain Symposium, a two-day event leading into NACDS Annual Meeting, where they brought together industry leaders throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain.
“With the consolidation that has occurred in the industry, Anda’s role as an independent reliable distributor is more important than ever in connecting our customers and suppliers,” noted Chip Phillips, President of Anda. “Each year our event serves as a platform to identify challenges and opportunities, align goals and improve patient access.”
The event started with guest speaker Doug Long. Long’s “Industry Year in Review” presentation showcases his experience and unique perspective on the U.S. and global healthcare market trends, and the pharmaceutical distribution industry. Following this presentation attendees participated in the ECRM sponsored Business Exchange, where ECRM helped facilitate 375 meetings.
Thursday night Anda executives addressed their attendees and introduced their celebrity guest, U.S. Olympic hockey gold medalist Jim Craig, who spoke about leadership and overcoming obstacles.
On Friday attendees got to enjoy a little fun on the golf course and ended the event during a luncheon with Heisman Trophy winner and 2004 Pro Football Hall of Fame player Barry Sanders. Sanders spoke about team work, never quitting and being the hardest worker you can be.
Safe Rx’s locking medication vial looks to secure meds
Safe Rx — maker of locking prescription vials — began with anesthesiologist and father of two Sean Serell, who recognized the potential danger of having medication laying around the house. Also noting the way pilfered drugs contributed to the opioid epidemic, Serell decided to create a vial based on a bike lock. Drug Store News spoke with Safe Rx chief commercial officer Andy Cipra to discuss how the company is reducing unintended access to medication with its products.
Drug Store News: What does the company offer in terms of retail products?
Andy Cipra: Currently, Safe Rx Locking Medicine Bottles are available in two sizes. The 18-dram or small bottle is available in amber and blue. It’s one of the most commonly used sizes in the pharmacy and [is] designed for the pharmacist to use to dispense new prescriptions. The 60-dram or large bottle was developed to secure a smaller traditional bottle inside. The Safe Rx Locking Medicine Bottle offers a unique safe storage solution that is convenient to use both at home and on the go. We have options for pharmacies to buy in bulk and fill prescriptions in the Safe Rx Locking Medicine Bottles for the patient, as well as retail products that can be sold over the counter, stocked on the shelf and included in displays.
DSN: Why should retailers carry the bottles for their patients?
AC: Offering Safe Rx Locking Medicine Bottles to patients is a simple, yet highly impactful action pharmacies can take to help stem the opioid crisis and differentiate themselves in the community by providing an inexpensive safe storage solution. In 2016, the last full year of available data, more than 64,000 people died from opioid and drug addiction, and more than 900,000 teenagers started abusing drugs for the first time. It affects all communities, including upper- and
lower-income areas, urban and rural communities, and the problem impacts millions of families each year.
However, we are doing little to prevent our teens from that first encounter of misusing prescription. Most of the current emphasis is on treatment, which can cost about $15,000 a year per person, which is often too late in the vicious cycle of abuse. Safe Rx Locking Medication Bottles offer an important step to preventing the problem, and gives the pharmacy an educational opportunity to discuss the dangers of these drugs and the importance of safe storage.
DSN: Where should they be placed in the store, and how should they be merchandised and marketed?
AC: Safe Rx is working with new retail customers to provide a turnkey approach to offering Safe Rx locking medicine bottles, with programs that include pharmacy starter kits, point-of-sale materials, discounted product for the first 90 days, and a pharmacist training plan. With each participating pharmacy location, Safe Rx also provides several media kits with a sample press release that allows retailers to reach out to local news media, community groups and government officials to recognize the retailer’s work to be part of the solution
DSN: What does the future look like for the company in terms of new products and promotional initiatives?
AC: The future looks very exciting — we continue to believe we can make a huge impact on reducing pilfering and saving lives. As a new company, we are getting great feedback from consumers, community leaders, parents, safety and prevention experts, doctors and pharmacists. We lock so many things up today — jewelry, guns, even our phones — so the idea of a simple, inexpensive solution to lock up everything from pills to vitamins is really resonating.
Andy Cipra is the chief commercial officer at Safe Rx.