PHARMACY

NACDS hails move forward on FMAP extension

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Invoking a “cloture” provision, the Senate voted Wednesday to end debate on a funding bill for state Medicaid programs, and move forward on the legislation. The Senate’s move to unblock the bill immediately was endorsed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

Among its provisions, the bill would extend for six months the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage, or FMAP, as many Americans continue to struggle with job losses and health costs. In a statement, NACDS called the extension “necessary to prevent further cuts to pharmacy care.”

The FMAP program will expire at the end of 2010 without congressional action to extend it. The vote to close debate on the measure came largely along party lines, 61-38, with most Democrats supporting an extension of the funding.

NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson expressed chain pharmacy’s support for FMAP. “The budget situation in the states is dire at best, and this extension of the FMAP provision is necessary to help prevent further cuts to pharmacy patient care,” he said Wednesday. “Anything that hinders pharmacy access is counterproductive, because when patients do not take their medications correctly health suffers and long-term healthcare costs rise.”

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Retail leaders gearing up for NACDS’ annual pharmacy pow-wow in San Diego

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Representatives of more than 130 retail pharmacy chains are gearing up for the 53rd annual pharmacy event hosted by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores late this month.

The NACDS 2010 Pharmacy and Technology Conference, set for Aug. 28 to 31 at the San Diego Convention Center, will draw pharmacy executives representing most of the nation’s chain drug store, supermarket and mass merchant pharmacies. Together, those operators will comprise more than 80,000 retail outlets and more than $200 billion in annual sales for prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, and home healthcare services, according to NACDS.

The four-day gathering will be packed with how-to business content, idea brainstorming and talks from highly placed political and policymaking leaders. Among those who will address the event’s three business programs: CVS Caremark president and COO Larry Merlo, who also is NACDS chairman; NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson; Hy-Vee VP pharmacy Bob Egeland; and Doug Long, VP industry relations for IMS Health. The conference will also play host to keynote speakers Dana Perino, political commentator and former White House press secretary in President George W. Bush’s administration; and David Cutler, Harvard University professor of applied economics and an advisor to President Obama’s presidential campaign.

Cutler, noted NACDS, “will offer poignant perspectives on healthcare and the economy.”

Also on tap: the “Meet the Retailer” program giving suppliers a perspective from their retailer counterparts on the most effective ways for them to market their product or service; and the annual “Meet the Rx Market” event, a rapid-fire series of 10-minute, timed meetings designed to bring together retailers and suppliers to focus on new products and services. The conference will also offer attendees 17 education sessions covering “the latest on state-of-the-art pharmacy operations, practice and clinical issues, distribution and marketing,” according to the organization.

“The opportunities for attendees are unique, from top-notch programming to strategic meetings with key decision-makers,” Anderson asserted. “This is a power-packed three-day agenda that is a must-attend for industry leaders.”

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Drugstore.com, BioScrip complete pharmacy agreement

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. Drugstore.com on Monday announced the completion of the assets sale of its DS Pharmacy subsidiary to BioScrip Pharmacy Services for approximately $10.5 million. The deal closed July 30.

Through a strategic partnership, BioScrip has started providing pharmacy services to Drugstore.com customers. Customers will be able to continue to order and refill their prescriptions through the Drugstore.com website and will benefit from an expanded specialty pharmacy product offering, clinical resources and greater access to third-party-insurance reimbursement, including Medicare.

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