News of interest to pharmacists

As a follow-up to the West Virginia Pharmacists Association (WVPA) mailing its members copies of the “Opioid Reduction Act” and “Pharmacists To Dispense Tobacco Cessation Theraphy” earlier this month, WVPA will be mailing a copy of “Pharmacy Audit Integrity Act” to its members next week. These measures were supported by WVPA and passed by the 2019 West Virginia Legislature.

A total 1,823 bills were introduced during the 2109 Legislature. Only 294 completed the process. The Governor vetoed 30 bills. Unless otherwise noted, all approved bills are effective 90 days from passage.

According to reports from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, West Virginia witnessed 368 pharmacists transferring their license into the State in 2018 while 144 transferred their license to another state.

Pharmacists are on the “front lines” to ensure patients are vaccinated for measles, especially with recent outbreaks. Pharmacists may wish to alert parents that 9 out of 10 nonimmune patients will get measles when exposed.

Wall Street expects Rite Aid slid deeper into the red in the fourth quarter. Financial analysis predict the struggling drugstore chain’s loss widened in the December-February quarter from a year earlier, even as revenue increased. The company, which also operates a PBM, announced plans to replace most of top management and to restructure.

PBMs were scrutinized at the Senate Finance Committee hearing this week. Lawmakers focused on PBM practices, such as rebate from drug manufacturers to PBMs, transparency of rebate and pricing negotiations and industry practices that could help or hurt affordability of drugs for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and other consumers.

PhRMA and PBMs blame each other for insulin price spikes. The manufacturers cast rebates as the root of the problem, and the PBMs blamed the high list prices set by manufacturers and the lack of generic insulin.

U.S. Senators Grassy and Wyden requested Health and Human Resources officials to investigate PBM spread pricing amd for paying pharmacies less than what they charge health plans for prescription drugs.

Ohio Medicaid managed care organizations fired CVS Caremark, according to news accounts. An audit of that state’s Medicaid program found PBMs kept over $220 million annually through spread pricing: CVS pocketed $114 million through its contract with CareSource alone.