Feds investigate Walgreens pharmacies in drug diversion probe | More employers choose to self-insure | Democratic leaders rule out benefit cuts in sequestration talks
November 29, 2012
PCMA SmartBrief
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Feds investigate Walgreens pharmacies in drug diversion probe
The Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating three Walgreens pharmacies in Florida as part of a broader prescription drug abuse probe. The pharmacies must now prove they are eligible to keep their licenses. Reuters (11/28)
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Legislative & Regulatory News
More employers choose to self-insure
About 60% of private-sector employees were covered by a self-insured health plan last year, compared with about 40% in the late 1990s, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. "Employers generally, and small employers particularly, concerned about the rising cost of providing health coverage may view self-insurance as a better way to control expected cost increases," according to Paul Fronstin, who wrote the EBRI report. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (11/28)
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Democratic leaders rule out benefit cuts in sequestration talks
Democrats will not consider reducing Medicare benefits as part of a deal to avoid sequestration, party leaders said. "The moment you want to privatize Social Security or voucherize Medicare or block-grant Medicaid -? that's where you lose us," said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. Democrats said they would consider ways to reduce waste and inefficiencies in the system. The Hill (11/28)
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HHS inspector general faults Medicare for EHR safeguards
Medicare officials have not developed sufficient safeguards for EHRs, leaving the data vulnerable to abuse and fraud, an HHS Office of Inspector General report found. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (11/29)
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More doctors e-prescribe using EHRs, report finds
A report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT found that 48% of physicians in the U.S. were e-prescribing using EHR systems as of June 2012, compared with 7% in December 2008. Pharmacy participation in e-prescribing and higher rates of doctors who meet meaningful use objectives contributed to the increase, according to the report. BeckersHospitalReview.com (11/28)
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PBM Industry News
Formulary flexibility will benefit patients, PCMA says
Although a proposed rule requiring health insurance plans sold on exchanges to cover the same number of drugs in each class as the state's benchmark could benefit drugmakers, Jill Wechsler writes, it does not establish "protected drug classes." Giving insurers more flexibility to design clinically based formularies will let them offer "more affordable, generous prescription drug benefits," the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association says. PharmExec.com/PharmExecBlog (11/28)
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Drug Industry Spotlight
Civil suits against NECC may proceed, judge rules
U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor allowed civil lawsuits to proceed against the New England Compounding Center, the compounding pharmacy tied to a nationwide meningitis outbreak. Criminal cases would have priority in collecting evidence, Saylor said. Reuters (11/28)
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Perrigo, Cobrek get FDA nod for generic Luxiq foam
Perrigo and Cobrek Pharmaceuticals received regulatory approval for the 0.12% formulation of betamethasone validate foam to address scalp psoriasis. The treatment is the generic version of Stiefel Labs' Luxiq foam. Drug Store News (11/28)
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We acquire the strength we have overcome."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson,
American writer
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About PCMA
PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 216 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D. PCMA is dedicated to enhancing the proven tools and techniques pioneered by PBMs that generate savings and access for consumers and payors.

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