WVPA Update: November 14

WVPA sent a letter to Governor Jim Justice requesting he allow the new pharmacy benefit legislative rule, passed by the 2019 Legislature, go through the process as written by his Office of Insurance Commission (OIC).

The Charleston law firm, Spilman Thomas who represents the PBM industry, has ask the Governor not to implement the new rule. WVPA requests pharmacists call the Governor’s Office 304-558-2000 and request the Governor to “stay the course” with SB 489 passed by lawmakers in 2019, or send an email to: Rob.G.Ashley@wv.gov — the Governor’s Legislative Director.

The APhA is seeking pharmacists involved in providing cessation interventions for individuals who use tobacco products. Pharmacists are positioned to serve as a valuable health care resource to increase quit attempts and successful quits among tobacco users.

Almost all of the eight major insurance companies have shown their medical loss ratio — the percentage of premium revenues they’re spending on medical clams is rising this year. UnitedHealth Group, the largest insurer in the country, said its loss ratio was 82.4% compared with 81% last year, while Humana had a 85.0 % loss ratio; Aetna 83.3%; Anthem 87.2%; while Cigna had a 80.5% loss ratio.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: the number of independent pharmacies went from 21,909 in 2017 to 21,767 in 2018. Since 2014, the U.S. has lost 711 independent pharmacies. The average number of prescriptions dispensed is down from 59,137 in 2017 to 58,823 in 2018. Pharmacies lost an average of $55,64 in sales in 2018.

The name of the new company formed by the combination of Mylan and Upjohn is “Viatris” deriving its name from Latin. Robert Coury will serve as Executive Chairman of the new company. Heather Breach, Mylan’s CEO since 2012, will be leaving the company after 28 years.

The WV Children’s Health Insurance Program will now cover maternity services. Coverage includes medical, pharmacy, dental, vision, behavioral health and prenatal care.

Putting in place a medication adherence program isn’t just good for patients — it’s good for the pharmacy too. More adherence means fewer prescriptions are left behind the counter, leading to more revenue. It also makes it easier to retain patients, since they tend to value convenience.

Nearly 79% of pharmacies already offer medication synchronization programs, which means patients can come in and pick up their prescriptions for the month on the same day.

Only 39% of independent pharmacies report they dispense specialty medications, giving those that do a distinct competitive advantage. The top specialty medications offered by independents are used to treat: rheumatoid arthritis; HIV infection; and multiple sclerosis.

Nearly 883,000 pounds of medication was collected during the 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 27.

Retail pharmacies’ average prescription volume was 58,823 — 189 per day — in 2018, according to NCPA, and 74% of community pharmacies serve population areas of 50,000 or fewer.

Ted Cheatham, the director of the Public Employees Insurance Agency, said, “There should be absolutely no premium changes for state employees, non-state employees, non-Medicare retirees or Medicare retirees, in the coming year.”

CVS Health will close an additional 22 retail pharmacies in the first quarter of 2020 in an effort to eliminate “under performing” stores. It anticipates closing 46 in May.

While most chain pharmacies relied heavily on wholesalers to supply prescription opioids, Walgreens obtained 97 percent of its pain pills directly from drug manufacturers, a Washington Post analysis found. (Christopher Lee/Bloomberg News)

At the height of the opioid epidemic, Walgreens handled nearly one out of every five oxycodone and hydrocodone pills shipped to pharmacies across America.

Walgreens dominated the nation’s retail opioid market from 2006 through 2012, buying about 13 billion pills — 3 billion more than CVS, its closest competitor, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration database of opioid shipments.