Author: Monica Abel

Pharmacists are getting squeezed by 2 of the world’s biggest companies. Here’s how they’re fighting back.

Independent pharmacists have been facing a changing industry for decades but have managed to maintain a presence in communities around the US. As reimbursements dwindle, pharmacists are starting to get creative, looking for new ways to get paid by health

Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre System Now Available to Independents

Independent pharmacists now can order the Abbott FreeStyle Libre 14-day system from their wholesaler. This pharmacy resource guide contains product information and wholesaler order numbers for both the FreeStyle Libre 14-day Reader and FreeStyle Libre 14-day Sensor. Since its introduction,

Statement From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on Proposed New Steps to Protect Youth by Preventing Access to Flavored Tobacco Products and Banning Menthol in Cigarettes

Philly May Require All Pharmacies to Stock Overdose-reversal Drug Naloxone  

Express Scripts Launches a New Formulary for a World Without Rebates. Will Plan Sponsors and Drug Makers Play Along?

NCPA Advocacy Successes and How Those Are Helping Advance Our Effort to Eliminate Pharmacy DIR

Why haven’t the Chains been joining us in complaining to the world about reimbursement pricing?

Attached is a flyer showing how Independents are being paid compared to the major chains…. All I can say is WOW! Show this to your PSAO – can they explain the difference in reimbursement? On this one Rx for Quetiapine

Department of Justice Approval of Mergers and How They Will Affect Independents

As you have already heard the Department of Justice has approved both the CVS/Aetna & Cigna/ESI mergers. A few members have already called me to VENT – now I would like you all to VENT to the proper people within

Delaware County Hearing With The Auditor General

The Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, held his second hearing on the questionable business practices of PBMs in Delaware County on September 12, 2018 The Auditor General in his press conference stated he “is committed to looking into the PBM practices,

Pharmacy Owners: A New Alternative to Keeping Independent Pharmacy Independent

Do Prescription Drug Middlemen Help Keep Prices High?

Auditor General DePasquale Initiates Review to Bring Transparency, Accountability to Prescription Drug Pricing

HARRISBURG (June 13, 2018) – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said he is launching a review to bring transparency and accountability to prescription drug pricing in Pennsylvania. The result will be a special report focused on practices by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs),

 Pharmacist Continuing Education Requirements

  To renew their pharmacist licenses, pharmacists are required to complete pharmacist continuing education approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or by the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy (Board).  Of the total 30 contact hours that pharmacists

Pharmacists Gag Rule

PARD’s Mel Brodsky has something to say about the gag rule:

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending May 4, 2018

NCPA Urges CMS to Pursue Rulemaking Addressing Retroactive DIR Fees This week, NCPA sent a letter (see attached) to CMS urging the agency to move forward with proper rulemaking to require pharmacy DIRs to be accounted for at point-of-sale. The

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending April 27, 2018

NCPA Efforts Result in Key Pharmacy Protections in Senate and House Opioid Bills This week, both chambers of Congress took the first steps in advancing legislation to address the opioid crisis. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee

Consumer Confidential: They’re called ‘co-pay accumulators,’ and they’re a way insurers make you pay more for meds

Mary Hawley takes the widely used drug Humira for her rheumatoid arthritis. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year, but for nearly a decade Hawley has been assisted with discount coupons from the drug’s manufacturer, AbbVie.  “You

FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA warns of serious immune system reaction with seizure and mental health medicine lamotrigine (Lamictal)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the medicine lamotrigine (Lamictal) for seizures and bipolar disorder can cause a rare but very serious reaction that excessively activates the body’s infection-fighting immune system. This can cause severe inflammation throughout

Webinar on Prescription Drugs and Heroin

WEBINAR – REGISTER NOW PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND HEROIN Thursday, April 26, 2018 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET I 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. CT The opioid epidemic is having an ongoing serious impact on communities throughout the United States.

How will the new tax laws affect your business?

Are you up on how the new tax law will affect small business like yours? Sign up for this webinar by Ollin Sykes, CPA with Sykes & Co., to make sure you’re up to date. This webinar will help you

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending April 20, 2018

NCPA Introduces MedPAC Nominee to Key Hill Staff This week NCPA government affairs staff accompanied NCPA’s Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) nominee Troy Trygstad to meetings with staff from key Congressional committees that have jurisdiction over Medicare. These included discussions

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending April 6, 2018

NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Summit Only Days Away The NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Summit is days away. Registration is available onsite for anyone who has not yet registered but still wants to take advantage of several CE opportunities as we provide you

Special NCPA Advocacy Center Update- CMS Issues Final 2019 Medicare Part D Rule and Call Letter

On April 2, 2018 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released their final Part D Rule and final Call Letter for 2019 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. NCPA is conducting a thorough analysis of each and will

Advocates Urge Congress to Include Provider Status Bill

NACDS RxIMPACT launched an all-out letter-writing campaign the week of March 26, urging pharmacy advocates to spotlight the value of H.R. 592, The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enforcement Act. Advocates should ask their representatives to include the legislation in

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending March 30, 2018

Online Registration Deadline Fast Approaching for NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Summit The deadline to register online for the NCPA Congressional Pharmacy Summit is Wednesday April 4.  Any registrations after that date must be done on site. Don’t miss the opportunity to

Unfair Pharmacy Reimbursement

Please see the attached memo. PA House of Representatives Memo-Unfair Reimbursement and PBM Gag

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending March 16, 2018

Only Hours Remain to Obtain Group Rate for Congressional Pharmacy Summit Hotel The deadline to reserve your room at NCPA’s group rate for the Congressional Pharmacy Summit is midnight tonight. If you have not registered and made your hotel reservation,

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending March 9, 2018

Cigna Seeks to Acquire Express Scripts; NCPA Expresses Concerns This week Cigna announced its intention to purchase Express Scripts. This announcement continues the consolidation trend in the health care marketplace and comes as regulators continue to examine the impacts on

Health Insurer Cigna to Buy Express Scripts in $67 Billion Deal

U.S. health insurer Cigna said on Thursday it would buy pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts for about $54 billion, the latest deal in the sector aimed at tackling soaring healthcare costs. The move follows the $69 billion merger of insurer Aetna and drugstore chain CVS Health announced last

Allergan Attempt to Move Restasis Patent to Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Did Not Work

After months of criticism that even spilled into a judge’s opinion in a separate case, Allergan’s Restasis patent deal with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe just didn’t work. Thanks to a Friday ruling, the blockbuster eye drug has to face

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending February 23, 2018

NCPA member Richard Logan to testify before Congress next week: The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health has scheduled a hearing on the opioid crisis entitled “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Helping Communities Balance Enforcement and Patient Safety” at 1

Pharmacy Reimbursement

Please watch this legislative video on pharmacy reimbursement.  

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending February 16, 2018

PBM industry concentration questioned as Senate, House review health care industry: At a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on concentration in the health care system, concerns raised by NCPA about the PBM marketplace was one

Register for Pharmacy Legislative Day

The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association is hosting its annual Pharmacy Legislative Day in Harrisburg, PA on Monday, April 16, 2018. Attend and talk with Pennsylvania legislators about the issues that affect you and the patients you serve. Help us advocate for

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending February 9, 2018

Trump Administration budget proposal to address prescription drug prices: In advance of the Feb. 12 release of the President’s FY 2019 budget proposal, aides previewed a range of proposals intended to address prescription drug prices. The White House Council of

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending February 2, 2018

NCPA member Jake Olson shines at House hearing on compounding: Olson, pharmacist and owner of Skywalk Pharmacy in Milwaukee, Wis., testified before a Jan. 30 hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee convened to examine FDA implementation of

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending January 26, 2018

21 Senators urge CMS to adopt revisions to pharmacy DIR fees: U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) organized a letter expressing bipartisan support to CMS for its proposed approach to pharmacy DIR fees. NCPA staff led

The Tax Cut & Your Pharmacy Business: What You Need to Know

NCPA consulted with and received permission from leading community pharmacy accounting firm Sykes & Company, P.A. to share its analysis of the recently enacted tax law. It features the example of a hypothetical pharmacy owner to illustrate how specific provisions

OptumRx and UnitedHealthcare change coverage status of Tamiflu due to shortage of generic equivalent

OptumRx and UnitedHealthcare are now accepting the Brand Tamiflu for reimbursement due to the shortage of the generic product in the market.   OptumRx and UnitedHealthcare are taking action to address current shortages in the supply of the generic anti-flu

FDA, FTC warn companies for selling illegal, unapproved opioid cessation products using deceptive claims

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission today posted joint warning letters to the marketers and distributors of 12 opioid cessation products, for illegally marketing unapproved products with claims about their ability to help in the

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending January 19, 2018

HHS offers assurance on continued Medicare, Medicaid payments despite government shutdown: The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) published guidance hours ahead of the lapse in Congressional appropriations, saying that “the Medicare Program will continue largely without disruption,” “States

4 Quick & Easy Ways to Boost Sales During Flu Season

Let patients know you care: Put a good tip list for flu survival on your website and share it on social media. Indicate that patients can pick up flu prevention & relief items at your pharmacy (create end-caps for each).

Pennsylvania Makes Headway on MAC Pricing Debacle

The Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association took action after its members began seeing drastic cuts in MAC reimbursements in some Medicaid Managed Care plans starting in October. Now they’ve been told CVS/Caremark has committed to returning reimbursements to pre-October levels for the

Aetna Better Health to Return to Pre-October Reimbursement Rates

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services informed PPA yesterday that CVS/Caremark intends to return its MAC pricing for Aetna Better Health MCO back to the levels that were in place prior to the atrocious cuts implemented in October 2017. You

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending January 12, 2018

Efforts to support key provisions of the CMS’ proposed Part D rule kicked into high gear with several developments, including: 120-stakeholder letter to CMS supporting the agency’s announced consideration to require application of retroactive pharmacy DIR fees instead into the

FDA warns Becton Dickinson & Company of Significant Violations of the Law as Part of Ongoing Investigation into Lead Testing Issues

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a warning letter to Becton Dickinson (BD) & Company that cited several violations of federal law, including marketing significantly modified versions of certain BD Vacutainer blood collection tubes without required FDA clearance

Webinar: Best Practices for Shipping Pharmaceuticals to Your Patients

This webinar is being done by OptiFreight, who is one of our vendors.  They are a part of Cardinal Health. Register at this link.

New Data: Pharmacy Owners’ Profits Fall As Industry Competition Rises

Time for my annual look at independent pharmacy owners’ business economics, drawn from the recently released 2017 National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Digest, Sponsored by Cardinal Health. Here’s the press release: NCPA Releases 2017 Digest. Below, I review our latest

Vitamins Make the Best Valentine’s Gifts

The right supplements can be the best gift for the heart. Choose supplements that you feel comfortable recommending to patients and prepare a “Valentine’s Gift to the Heart” display. Some possibilities include your favorite multivitamin, a CoQ10, fish oil with

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending January 5, 2018

Community pharmacy owners rank 2018 policy priorities: A recently concluded NCPA survey of independent community pharmacy owners identified their top policy issues for this year. In order of ranking, they are: 1) Eliminate retroactive pharmacy DIR fees; 2) Ensure MAC