Author: Monica Abel

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

The Facts on America’s Opioid Epidemic 

Learn How to Start a Pharmacy Niche: Webinar Jan. 10

Discover how one of your peers combined her pharmacy’s excellent reputation, strong customer relationships, and clinical expertise with patient needs to form a thriving niche counseling patients in wellness. The NCPA Innovation Center’s Jan. 10 CE webinar will give you

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending December 22, 2017

Show your support for CMS’ Part D proposed rule: With the Jan. 16, 2018 deadline for comments approaching, NCPA continues to urge its members and allies to take grassroots action to back the measure. The proposal includes several NCPA-supported provisions,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas to all of our Independent Pharmacies and their families. Keystone/PARD offices will close at Noon on Friday, December 22, 2017 and remain closed through Monday, January 1, 2018 in observance of the holiday. We will resume our normal

Help Us Help You: Tell Us How DIR Is Impacting You

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is seeking public comment by January 16, 2018 on a proposal that would require all pharmacy DIR to be reflected at point of sale.  NCPA will encourage CMS to formally adopt this proposal,

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending December 15, 2017

NCPA’s Doug Hoey touts pharmacist savings, PBM reforms in Congressional testimony: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a Dec. 13 hearing entitled “Examining the Drug Supply Chain.” The 10-person panel included the entire supply chain, from manufacturers

What Are Your Community Pharmacy Priorities for 2018? – NCPA Survery

Below is a simple & quick survey from NCPA. They want to hear from you as to “what is bothering & costing you the most”. Please take 5 minutes and let them know your thoughts. 2018 Priorities Membership Survey flyer

Brush Up on Employment Law: Webinar Tomorrow

Without the big HR department of a large chain, the weight of compliance falls on the pharmacy owner. The NCPA Innovation Center’s Dec. 13 CE webinar will give you the information and tools you need to manage human resources and

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending December 8, 2017

NCPA to testify before key health panel next week: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health announced a Dec. 13 hearing entitled “Examining the Drug Supply Chain.” NCPA CEO Doug Hoey is scheduled to testify to share the community

Social Media Marketing Tips for the Holidays

With the holiday season upon us it’s easy to let your pharmacy’s social media presence slip throughout all of the hustle and bustle. In fact, these are some of the most crucial times to beef up your social media presence

Tomorrow is “DIR Day”

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, take the time to share with legislators how much you have paid in DIR fees this year. Let them know how DIRs imposed by PBMs have impacted patient costs at the register and how they have

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending December 1, 2017

HHS nominee Azar passes first confirmation test: Alex Azar, President Trump’s nominee to be HHS Secretary, outlined four priority issues during a three-hour Senate HELP Committee hearing: 1) address prescription drug prices; 2) advance affordable, consumer-focused health care; 3) enhance

Four 5-minute Tasks You Can Accomplish Right Now

• Create a “Wash Away Germs” end-cap for Hand Washing Awareness Week (Dec. 3-9) featuring hand soaps, antibacterial lotions, air sanitizers like Lysol, and wipes. • Take a photo of one of your lift chairs with a big red bow

CMS Will Consider Changes to Pharmacy DIR in Part D

In a 713-page proposed regulation, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced it will consider a proposal to account for all pharmacy DIR at point of sale, as NCPA has long urged. CMS argues that the change would increase drug


  Effective Monday December 11, 2017 PACE and CRDP will enhance the existing prescriber edit. PACE and CRDP require that a cardholder’s prescription must be written by: a prescriber licensed by the Commonwealth a prescriber licensed by Delaware, Maryland, New

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Independent Pharmacies and their families. Keystone/PARD offices will close at Noon on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 and remain closed on Thursday, November 23, 2017 and Friday, November 24, 2017 in observance of the holiday.

AmerisourceBergen to Acquire H.D. Smith

AmerisourceBergen will be acquiring H.D. Smith. The Valley Forge, Pa.-based company will be paying $815 million in cash for the company, which is currently the United States’ largest independent wholesaler. Read more about the acquisition here.

NCPA Advocacy Center Update: Week Ending November 17, 2017

CMS Proposes Part D Changes, Including to Pharmacy DIR: In a 713-page proposed regulation covering an array of topics, the agency proposes to account for all pharmacy DIR at point-of-sale, as NCPA has recommended. CMS argues that the change would

Is Your Pharmacy Ready for Small Business Saturday?

Here are some suggestions from NCPA on enhancing your front end for the holidays with product you already have in store. Prep “Makes a Great Stocking Stuffer” signs to place on at least 50 items throughout the store. Be creative

Cardinal Health Launches Opioid Action Program to Support Drug Abuse Prevention and Education in Appalachia

Nov 16, 2017 Company to Collaborate with Key Partners across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia DUBLIN, Ohio, Nov. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH) today launched its new Opioid Action Program, aimed at helping communities in four of the nation’s hardest-hit states across Appalachia combat the


PARD and Keystone join PUTT in a silent protest during a PBM presentation at the FTC workshop on PBMs and Healthcare Costs. Mid-morning as the PBM session kicked off – and at the precise moment Mark Merritt, President and CEO

U.S. Approves Digital Pill That Tracks When Patients Take It

(Reuters) – U.S. regulators have approved the first digital pill with an embedded sensor to track if patients are taking their medication properly, marking a significant step forward in the convergence of healthcare and technology. Read more here.

Drug Enforcement Administration collects record number of unused pills as part of its 14th Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Thanks to all Independent pharmacies who participated in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day! (WASHINGTON) – Americans nationwide did their part to reduce the opioid crisis by bringing the DEA and its more than 4,200 local and tribal law enforcement partners

Get Free Images for Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday was founded seven years ago to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year—Thanksgiving weekend. Mark your calendar—this year the date is Nov. 25. NCPA has created free social

Do This One Task Today to Get Ready for the Holidays

Set the employee schedule for November, December, and January. Keep in mind that the day after Thanksgiving is the last Friday of the month and there is a good chance the pharmacy will be busy. Consider bringing in extra staff

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending November 3, 2017

House GOP Proposes Major Tax Overhaul: The wide-ranging plan would reduce tax rates for large corporations to 20% and small businesses to as low as 25% as well as phase out the estate tax for many Americans. However, for independent

Governor Signs PACE Dispensing Fee Reduction

Yesterday, Governor Wolf approved House Bill 118, which will now become Act 40 of 2017. This contains provisions that reduce the PACE professional dispensing fee to $10.49, set to take effect immediately. Ultimately, this compromise is the result of debate

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending October 28, 2017

House E&C Committee Holds Hearing on Opioid Crisis:  The Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing this week on federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis. The committee heard from witnesses from the FDA, DEA, SAMHSA, CDC, and NIH on

Statement From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the Trump Administration’s Important Efforts to Address the Opioid Crisis

Yesterday the Administration took a historic step to direct additional resources to help address the staggering human and economic toll created by the epidemic of opioid addiction. We thank President Trump for his leadership in further empowering public and private

How Independent Pharmacies Will Participate (Or Not) in 2018’s Part D Preferred Pharmacy Networks

THE NOTORIOUS FLA Large pharmacies interact and negotiate directly with PBMs and other third-party payers. However, nearly all smaller pharmacy owners participate in pharmacy services administration organizations (PSAOs) to leverage their influence in contract negotiations with PBMs and other third-party payers. The

WBA to Shut 600 Stores in Retail Network Overhaul

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) plans to close 600 stores starting next year as it rationalizes its U.S. drug store base following the $4.375 billion purchase of 1,932 Rite Aid stores. In reporting its fiscal 2017 fourth-quarter and annual

Pharmacy Robbery & Burglary: Tips to Protect Your Customers, Your Business and Yourself

In light of recent events in one of our pharmacies, here is a link to some information put together by the DEA Diversion Control Division & National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Gives some useful prevention tips, what to do

NEW Biosimilar Educational Materials for Healthcare Professionals – Drug Information Update

FDA is pleased to announce the release of new educational materials for health care professionals about biosimilar and interchangeable products. The agency developed these educational materials  to help increase understanding about these important new types of medication among health care

NCPA Advocacy Center Update – Week Ending October 21, 2017

PBM Practices Exposed at Senate HELP Hearing on Drug Pricing: On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee held a hearing on how the drug delivery system affects drug pricing. Representatives on behalf of the brand and

Nominate Your Store for a NICE Award

The NCPA Innovation Center is looking to spotlight the best of community pharmacy remodels, branding and marketing. NICE Award winners will be featured in the March 2018 issue of America’s Pharmacist. Nominations are now being accepted for these eight different