WVPA News: October 1, 2019

CMS announces Medicare Advantage plan premiums have hit 13-year low. CMS announced that monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage plans will be, on average, the lowest in 13 years, and down 23% from 2018 during the upcoming open enrollment period. CMS also projected that enrollment in the plans will hit 24.4 million next year. an increase of 9.9% from 22.2 million currently. Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage will run from October 15 to December 7, and the new coverage will begin January 1.

CMS recommends getting influenza vaccine now as start of flu season nears. Flu season generally starts in October and peaks in February.

The prevalence of cannabidol (CBD) is sufficient enough the government will be funding nine research grants looking into CBD and other similar compounds in pot, totaling $3 million. The new studies will look at how CBD might act as a pain reliever.

Raleigh County pharmacist Natalie Cochran, 38, was arrested last week after being named in a 26-count federal indictment alleging that she ran a multi-million dollar ponzi scheme with her late husband. According to the federal indictment, she defrauded 11 people of more than $2.5 million each.

Teva said its generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen for young children will be available in most retain pharmacies at a price of $300 for a 2-pack. Teva is already selling the product for adults, after getting U.S. approval for its copy of EpiPen in August following several years of delay.

Federal Judge Thad Balkman has found Johnson & Johnson guilty in the Oklahoma opioid trial and ordered the company to pay $572 million towards a plan to abate the crisis. In a related issue, Purdue Pharmaceuticals and the Sackler family who owns the company are prepared to settle opioid lawsuits between $5 and $12 billion by filing bankruptcy to resolve the nearly 2,000 pending opioid suits they face.

Recognizing the demands that certified pharmacy technicians have on their time, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board has streamlined the recertification application process for CPhTs who meet their continuing education hours and have recorded them through CPE Monitor. The new process eliminates the need to manually enter CE information as long as it is already in CPE Monitor. The new process eliminates the need to manually enter CE information as long as it is already in CPE Monitor.

Altaire Pharmaceuticals recalls multiple OTC ophthalmic products sold at retrain pharmacies. Due to the lack of sterility assurance, Altaire voluntarily recalled OTC drug products and lots sold as generic ophthalmic medications at chain and retail pharmacies. Administration of nonsterile products intended to be sterile may result in serious and possibly life-threatening injections of death.

West Virignia law HB 2525 allows a pharmacist to initiate and dispense tobacco cessation therapy to patients 18 years and older pursuant to a standing order.

West Virginia law HB 2583 allows a pharmacist to dispense a self-administered hormonal contraceptive to a patient at lease 18 years old pursuant to a standing order.

West Virginia law SB 489 requires a PBM to register with the state prior to operating or conducting business in the state. SB 489 creates and/or strengthens the state’s fair pharmacy audit provisions. SB 489 also establishes PBM adequacy standards and prohibits mail-order only benefits.