Clinical Insights: May 11, 2021

    Welcome to RxStrategies’ Clinical Insights, designed to help pharmacy professionals stay up to date on the ever-changing pharmaceutical and pharmacy marketplace. Contact us to learn more.

    New Drug Approval

    No new update.

    New Formulation Approval

    No new update.

    New Indication/Dosage Approval

    No new update.

    New/Updated Drug Shortage

    May 07, 2021

    May 06, 2021

    May 05, 2021

    May 04, 2021

    New Drug Recall and Safety Alerts

    Bupivacaine Hydrochloride 0.5% Injection, USP and Lidocaine 1% HCl Injection, USP by Hospira – New Voluntary Drug Recall – May 4, 2021 – Hospira, Inc., a Pfizer company, is voluntarily recalling lot EG6023 of 0.5% Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection, USP 30 mL and lot EG8933 of 1% Lidocaine HCl Injection, USP 30 mL, to the hospital/institution level due to mislabeling whereby a portion of each lot was incorrectly labeled as the other product. This issue was identified as part of the investigation of a confirmed customer report. Hospira’s assessment of the potential risk to patients concluded that the use of the impacted product is likely to cause adverse events of moderate to high severity. If 1% lidocaine is administered to the patient instead of 0.5% bupivacaine, the patient may be underdosed, leading to lack of efficacy with potential outcomes such as inadequate pain management, and failure of surgical anesthesia. If 0.5% bupivacaine is administered to the patient instead of 1% lidocaine, an overdose of bupivacaine may occur… <Read More>

    Sterile Water for Injection, USP by Hospira – New Voluntary Drug Recall – May 4, 2021 – Hospira, Inc., a Pfizer company, is voluntarily recalling lot DN9185 of Sterile Water for Injection, USP, 100 mL Single Dose Glass Fliptop Vial, to the hospital/institution level due to a confirmed customer report for a single vial with a visible particulate. Hospira’s  assessment of the potential risk to patients concluded that in rare instances the use of the impacted product can be associated with potential adverse events such as anaphylaxis, fever,    gastrointestinal disturbances, vein irritation, localized vein inflammation, phlebitis, end-organ granuloma, tissue ischemia, pulmonary emboli, and infarction. To date, Hospira, Inc. has not received reports of any adverse events associated with this issue for this lot. <Read More>

    New Generic/Biosimilar Approval and Launch

    Absorica® (isotretinoin) Capsules – New Generic Launch – April 29, 2021 – Teva Pharmaceuticals, a U.S. affiliate of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced its launch of the first available 10 mg, 20 mg, 25 mg, 30 mg, 35 mg and 40 mg strength generic version of Absorica® (isotretinoin) capsules for the treatment of severe recalcitrant nodular acne in non-pregnant patients 12 years of age and older with multiple inflammatory nodules with a diameter of 5 mm or greater. <Read More>

    Clinical and Pharmacy News

    It Will Not be Your Pre-pandemic Office – May 10, 2021 – There’s no going back to the ways of working before COVID-19’s arrival, say many in the industry. Insurers and PBMs are reducing their footprint as work becomes part remote, part in person. Five years ago, Prime Therapeutics, a fast-growing pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) owned by 19 Blues plans, realized that its portfolio of leased office spaces had grown expensive and unwieldy. The company’s leaders decided to consolidate its four Twin Cities offices at a gleaming new headquarters in nearby Eagan, Minnesota, and keep seven floors of offices at a location in another suburb. An analysis had revealed that much of the existing space went unused, so company executives designed the Eagan building with flexible workspaces to encourage collaboration and meeting spaces that could be made smaller or larger as required, says Kim Gibson, assistant vice president of real estate and facilities at Prime. They suspected telecommuting would become a growing trend and felt the new building could accommodate such a transition, she says. <Read More>

    Opioid Supply Shortages, Prepared Dosages Influence Emergency Department Prescribing Behaviors ­­– May 10, 2021 – The percentage of patients who received an opioid among all ED visits during the 2018 shortage fell significantly from 11.5% pre-shortage to 8.5% during, and did not return to baseline once the shortage had ended. External factors, such as the volume of pre-filled syringes or a default number of tablets that could easily be ordered for a patient at discharge, can cause emergency department (ED) physicians to administer or prescribe greater quantities of opioids, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology. The study also found that prescribing behavior can be decreased by external factors, such as a supply shortage. <Read More>

    Five Tips for Graduating Pharmacy Students and Recent Graduates – May 9, 2021 – Congratulations to the class of 2021. Your hard work is about to pay off as you enter the ranks of licensed pharmacists. Although the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has raised unprecedented challenges, compounding already-tough competition for open positions, opportunities still exist. Today, pharmacists are practicing at the top of their licenses: engaging in collaborative practice through comprehensive medication management, providing medication therapy management services, offering point-of-care testing, and immunizing the nation against the COVID-19 and other diseases…Here are 5 tips to help you succeed in finding the right position. <Read More>

    Students Should Seize the Opportunity to Host Brown Bag Consults – May 8, 2021 – The current health care environment makes it challenging for student pharmacists to find ways to shine. But the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has given students the opportunity to assist pharmacists with new workflow issues and prioritize patient volume…Student pharmacists are in a unique position to reestablish the definition of patient care within the pharmacy as we emerge from the pandemic. Offering services such as brown bag consults can demonstrate the importance of pharmacy services beyond dispensing. <Read More>

    Time to ART Prescriptions Improving in U.S. – May 7, 2021 – The United States has seen great improvement in how quickly antiretroviral therapy (ART) is prescribed to newly diagnosed people with HIV, according to a CDC study that was presented at the virtual CROI 2021 conference. Although disparities exist in how quickly and effectively HIV-positive people are linked to care, many have decreased over time. “In 2012, the federal HIV treatment guidelines recommended ART for all PWH, regardless of CD4 counts,” said Jun Li, MD, PhD, a senior epidemiologist with the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “In February 2019, the Ending the HIV Epidemic [EHE] initiative was announced. Treating PWH rapidly and effectively to reach viral suppression is a key strategy for this initiative.” <Read More>

    Development of Updated WHO Guidelines on the Management of Tuberculosis in Children and Adolescents – May 7, 2021 – The World Health Organization (WHO) is convening a Guideline Development Group (GDG) to advise on updates needed to its recommendations on the management of tuberculosis (TB) in children and adolescents. At least 1.2 million children under the age of 15 years fall ill with TB every year and an estimated 67 million are infected with TB and thus are at risk of developing TB disease in the future. Despite significant progress and greater understanding of the challenges faced in addressing TB in children and adolescents, critical gaps remain in TB case detection and provision of TB preventive treatment in this group. <Read More>

    Effective Communication is Vital for Pharmacy Technicians ­– May 7, 2021 – As the bridge between the pharmacy, the provider, and the patient, it’s essential for pharmacy technicians to develop and maintain good relationships with everyone involved in a patient’s care. Good communication is perhaps more important in healthcare than in any other field. Quality care only happens when providers, clinicians and pharmacies all communicate clearly and effectively with the patient, with other healthcare providers and, most importantly, within their own teams. When communication breaks down, it can cause serious patient safety issues: a study of ten years’ worth of medical errors found that 66% of those errors were caused by ineffective team communication. Pharmacy teams are no exception; as the bridge between the pharmacist and the patient, it’s especially important for pharmacy technicians to develop good communication skills. <Read More>

    Long-Term Pharmacies, Tired of Being Ignored, Demand More Provider Relief Funding From Congress – May 6, 2021 – A coalition of long-term care pharmacies is calling top federal lawmakers to prioritize the sector for future Provider Relief Fund allocations after receiving no assistance from the reserve since its inception.  “The financial situation for LTC pharmacies mirrors the financial situation for nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition wrote in a letter to Congressional party leaders late last week. “It is essential that the next distribution from the Provider Relief Fund include LTC pharmacies, particularly as many providers who received relief last year seek additional relief in 2021.” <ReadMore>

    Verquvo™ is a Promising New Heart Failure Treatment – May 6, 2021 – The drug is indicated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, HF hospitalizations, or the need for outpatient intravenous diuretics. Heart failure (HF) is a chronic condition in which the heart cannot pump adequate blood to the body. This results in the heart not being able to pump enough blood (systolic) and fill (diastolic) appropriately. A condition such as this can create many problems for patients who suffer from HF, such as continuous shortness of breath, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, and swollen legs…Verquvo™ (vericiguat), from Merck pharma, which the FDA approved on January 20, 2021, is the newest addition for treating HF. The drug is indicated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, HF hospitalizations, or the need for outpatient intravenous diuretics. It is recommended in adults with symptomatic chronic HF and ejection fraction less than 45%. Verquvo™ is a stimulator of soluble guanylate cyclase, an important enzyme in the nitric oxide signaling pathway. <Read More>

    Topical CBD Treatment Associated With Benefit in Anal Fissures – May 6, 2021 – Topically applied cannabidiol (CBD) might provide the best balance of efficacy and safety for the treatment of anal fissures, according to a case series. Tested because of its vasoactive properties, topical CBD significantly improved symptoms in all patients in the series. Based on the substantial symptomatic improvement and accelerated healing, “the relative absence of side effects could position CBD as first-line therapy in the medical management of both acute and chronic anal fissures,” said the two investigators, Nikolas A. Deal-Laroda, MBBS, and E. Marcus Cooper, MD, of the University of West Indies School of Clinical Medicine and Research, in Nassau, Bahamas. <Read More>

    Data Capture and Reporting in Specialty Pharmacy – May 6, 2021 – Specialty pharmacy is uniquely positioned to capture and deliver data to drive value in the care of patients who need specialty medications. Data can not only provide visibility into the process, day-to-day operations, and the patient journey, but can also help specialty pharmacies meet contractual obligations and provide a closer look at performance and improvement opportunities. Data in specialty pharmacy provides visibility into prescribers, patients, and payers. A specialty pharmacy can identify which kind of health care providers are prescribing certain medications and can provide insights into their prescribing habits. Trends in prescribing habits that may delay time to fill can be identified and interventions can be made to address these trends. Examples include poor documentation and lack of guidelines support when prescribing. <Read More>

    School Guidelines Recommend: No Allergy-Free Zones, More Training – May 6, 2021 – New guidelines call for schools and child-care centers to have staff training on anaphylaxis, allergy action plans, and epinephrine available to manage food allergies. But they conclude that school-wide food bans and allergen-free zones and even free-from tables are not necessary. The recommendations to do away with food bans and allergen-free zones are meant to help remove the stigma for students often associated with those, says allergist Dr. Susan Waserman. The professor of medicine at Canada’s McMaster University chaired the international panel that developed the guidelines. <Read More>

    Pfizer and Organon Provide a Glimpse of Biosimilars Strategy – May 6, 2021 – Pfizer doubles down on its pledge to fight rebates, and Organon executives discuss the growth potential of this planned Merck spinoff. Rebates that manufacturers use to incentivize formulary placement of their products by payers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have long been seen as an obstruction to patient access to biosimilars. An innovator drug company can manipulate the market for its products through rebates and thereby undercut the market absorption of biosimilars. In remarks issued with 2021 first quarter earnings statement, Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said the company continues to work with legislators to ensure that manufacturer rebates are passed along to patients in the form of savings, rather than going into the pockets of payers and PBMs. <Read More>

    Becoming Familiar with the New NIH Asthma Treatment Guidelines – May 5, 2021 – In 2007, when the NIH published its asthma treatment guidelines, it was, in some ways, revolutionary…In 2020, the NIH published new asthma treatment guidelines. For some reason, they do not seem to have received the same type of publicity that the 2007 guidelines did. It is therefore fortunate that Dr. Michelle Cloutier and colleagues from the University of Connecticut, Children’s National Hospital, the University of Wisconsin, and Nemours Children’s Health System have provided a primer for pediatricians. This article, entitled, “The 2020 Focused Updates to the NIH Asthma Management Guidelines: Key Points for Pediatricians,” is being early released by Pediatrics this week.  <Read More>

    CVS: Specialty Drugs Accounted for 52% of Pharmacy Spend in 2020 – May 5, 2021 – Specialty drugs now account for more than half of pharmacy spend, a new report from CVS Health shows. CVS Caremark released its annual Drug Trend Report, which found that specialty medications accounted for 52% of drug spend in 2020. The pharmacy benefit manager also found a 98% increase in utilization related to conditions with new therapies or indications on the market. Five therapeutic categories drive 90% of specialty spend, CVS said. <Read More>

    Permission Denied: Why Prior Authorizations Aren’t Going Away – May 5, 2021 – Physicians continue to wonder how we can live in a world where so many transactions are handled quickly with technology, yet decisions that affect patient health are slowed by faxes and bureaucracy, even when there is only one clear treatment option. Need a mortgage approved to buy a $400,000 house in less than an hour? Done. Want specialty pet food delivered to your door by tomorrow? No problem. Moving money between accounts at a bank? Instantaneous. Need your patient to switch from Coumadinä to Lovenoxä because they have surgery in three days? Sorry, there’s no way the prior authorization will be approved in time. Just have the patient reschedule and put their health at risk…In 2018, a consensus group made up of all the major medical associations and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry trade group for payers, agreed on several principles on how prior authorizations should be handled and how they could be improved. <Read More>

    Prime Therapeutics Ups its Predictive Analytics Game with Differentiated Integrated Data Platform – May 5, 2021 – Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime) introduces Insights+, its highly consultative data and analytics platform that gives clients timely access to their integrated medical and pharmacy data. The newly designed Insights+ incorporates Prime’s flagship analytics tool combining pharmacy and medical tools into one. Powered by the Artemetrx platform, Insights+ adds new functionality that enables streamlined data retrieval and analysis. Previously available to commercial clients, now Insights+ will serve select self-insured employer groups (through participating Blue Plans). This platform now transforms data into action, providing enhanced value beyond common PBM products. Interventions spurred by this predictive data have the potential to create cost avoidance savings to clients in the millions of dollars and help members achieve substantial savings as well. <Read More>

    The Difference Between an Interchangeable Biosimilar and One That Isn’t – May 5, 2021 – Permitting automatic substitution of biosimilars for originator brand biologics at the pharmacy counter is often talked about as a potential money saver. Some integrated health care networks already direct pharmacists to intervene on prescriptions to ensure that biosimilars are substituted for higher-cost originator agents. But although the FDA has approved 29 biosimilars, none have interchangeable designations. That appears likely to change soon. Boehringer Ingelheim recently expressed confidence that results from its phase 3 VOLTAIRE-3 study of the adalimumab biosimilar Cyltezoä (BI695501) meet the FDA’s criteria for an interchangeable biologic designation. Cyltezoä was approved as a biosimilar in 2017, but owing to the FDA’s unique approval system for biologics, it must pass through a different set of hoops to qualify for interchangeable status.  <Read More>

    The Emerging Role of Pharmacists as Social Media Influencers – May 5, 2021 – Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow people to share personal and professional content as well as communicate and connect with each other online. These interactive tools have completely changed the landscape of information exchange with 72% of US adults in 2021 saying they use at least one social media site. In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the internet and social media play an even more crucial role in our daily lives. Pharmacists have had to adapt to meeting more frequently online instead of in person, while embracing new ways of delivering care and disseminating health care information. <Read More>

    How to Respond to a PBM Audit Notice From an Industry Insider ­– April 5, 2021 – Mark Ziegler, a former PBM auditor, shares tips on responding to a PBM audit notice. Pharmacies are plagued by the burdens of addressing the terms of their pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) agreements, whether those terms are reasonable or not. Pharmacies are dogged with PBMs wielding their power by initiating a PBM audit – sometimes to root out actual discrepancies, sometimes to injure your business in favor of the PBM’s own affiliated pharmacies. Then, of course, there is the specter of a PBM suspension, in which your PBM might suspend payments and/or threaten termination based on minor, inconsequential claims discrepancies. In short, PBMs hold all the cards. So, if you run a pharmacy that has recently been hit with a PBM suspension, then it is time to marshal your resources and “kill ‘em with kindness.” <Read More>

    Emerging Roles in Mental Health Care for Pharmacists – May 4, 2021 – More opportunities are emerging for pharmacists to fine-tune their patients’ regimens and serve as important access points for individuals experiencing mental health crises. Nearly 1 in 5 US adults lives with a mental health disorder. Many are currently being treated with medication regimens that benefit from pharmacist oversight. As the antipsychotic medication landscape evolves, more roles are emerging for pharmacists to fine-tune their patients’ regimens and serve as important access points for individuals experiencing mental health crises. For a growing number of pharmacists, an interest in providing mental health care leads to a specialization in psychiatric pharmacy, also known as mental health pharmacy. <Read More>

    Pharmacy Needs Payment Reform to Thrive – We’re Fighting for it on Two Fronts ­– May 4, 2021 – This week marked the end of my first year as CEO of APhA. From the moment I stepped into APhA headquarters, the World Home of Pharmacy, I was humbled by this amazing organization and all that APhA has accomplished in its 169-year history. I take very seriously the responsibility that comes with leading this storied institution. I’ve never doubted that the members of this profession had the mettle to look a dragon in the eye and slay it, but this year I’ve watched that talent and fortitude in action, and it’s perhaps the most unforgettable sight of my life. The honor of supporting and advocating for our pharmacy heroes has changed my life forever, and together, we’re changing the world for good. Thank you to my APhA team for riding this wild wave alongside me, our members and volunteers for fueling the engines of progress, and every pharmacist—everyone on pharmacy teams—for proving our message correct: The health care system can’t afford to overlook us. Pharmacy is public health infrastructure. <Read More>

    President Biden Signs Legislation Boosting Generic and Biosimilar Drugs to Help Foster Price Competition – May 4, 2021 – On April 23, 2021, President Biden signed into law two bipartisan bills aimed at reducing prescription drug prices by supporting generic and biosimilar alternatives to branded drugs. The Ensuring Innovation Act supports generic drugs by clarifying the technical qualifications for earning exclusivity as a “new chemical entity.” The Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act provides for increased federal efforts to educate patients, doctors and caregivers about biosimilar drugs. These changes come as proposals for more comprehensive legislation on drug pricing, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate prices directly with manufacturers, have thus far been excluded from the Biden Administration’s major spending initiatives. Below is a short summary of each new bill. <Read More>

    Three More States Bar Accumulator Adjustment Programs – May 4, 2021 – Three additional states enacted legislation in recent weeks barring the “accumulator adjustment program” cost sharing framework. Accumulator adjustment programs seek to reverse the impact of manufacturer cost sharing assistance for prescription drugs by not counting amounts offset by such assistance toward a patient’s deductible. This can result in high patient out-of-pocket responsibilities after the manufacturer’s cost sharing assistance has been exhausted. For this reason, both drug manufacturers and patient advocates have sought to bar accumulator adjustment programs on both the federal and state levels. <Read More>

    New Clinical Practice Guideline on Community Acquired Pneumonia – May 4, 2021 – In its latest clinical practice guideline on community-acquired pneumonia the American Thoracic Society’s guidelines panel addresses the use of nucleic acid-based testing for non-influenza viral pathogens. The guideline was published online in the May 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine…Community-acquired pneumonia is caused by a wide range of respiratory pathogens, prominently including viruses. However, the only viral pathogen addressed by the 2019 clinical practice guideline was influenza. The panel determined that, given the increasing recognition of non-influenza viral causes of CAP and the expanded availability of diagnostic tests among clinicians, it was necessary to update the previous guideline to help guide treatment. <Read More>

    Making COVID-19 Vaccines Accessible to College Students – May 4, 2021 – More than 247 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 105 million are fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 as of May 4, according to the CDC. This means that about one-third of the country’s population—most 65 years of age and older—are fully protected against the virus. The emphasis now is on getting younger people vaccinated, according to public health officials. But that could be a more difficult group to reach, as an April call between Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, and state governors demonstrated. The governors expressed concern about starting COVID-19 vaccination on college campuses this late in the season, because many students will be wrapping up their semester and returning home. They worry that the students will be off campus, and maybe in another state, when the second dose is due. <Read More>

    NCPA Shows Support for New Bill Requiring PBM Investigation ­– May 4, 2021 – The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) expressed their support for the reintroduction of a bill that aims to target the lack of competition in pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) activities and boost the vitality of independent pharmacies. S.1388, named the Prescription Pricing for the People Act of 2021, would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to study PBMs and how their recent merger activity may be affecting patients and small business independent pharmacies, and provide Congress with effective policy recommendations. According to the bill, the FTC has 1 year following the enactment of S.1388 to report to Congress whether PBMs: 1) Charge payers a higher price than the reimbursement rates offered to pharmacies, 2) Steer patients for competitive advantage, including a retail, mail-order, or other type of pharmacy that the PBM has an ownership interest, 3) Audit or review proprietary data, including acquisition costs, patient information, or dispensing information, of pharmacies not owned by the PBM and use the data to increase revenue or market share, 4) Use formulary designs to increase the market share of higher cost prescription drugs, or depress the market share of lower cost prescription drugs. <Read More>

    340B in the News

    A Path Forward for Rural Hospitals and Healthcare Systems – May 10, 2021 – It has been over a year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic due to Covid-19. Both hospitals and healthcare systems across the country have been under unthinkable stress and strain ever since. In addition to an overwhelming influx of patients and overburdened staff, rural organizations, in particular, have been facing financial struggles because of several pandemic-related factors…Additionally, healthcare organizations should research current federal programs designed to provide financial assistance. For instance, certain hospitals and healthcare systems may be able to save money by purchasing discounted drugs through the 340B Drug Pricing Program. With this program, eligible organizations are able to stretch federal resources “as far as possible,” which helps to reach more patients who may lack access to healthcare services. <Read More> 

    340B Hospitals Offer More Assistance Overcoming Barriers to Medication Access – May 7, 2021 – Hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program provide more medication access services—services that help remove barriers to accessing necessary medications—than comparably sized non-340B hospitals, according to a study published in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. The study authors noted that 340B participating hospitals may be better positioned to create and administer programs that support patients who are uninsured or underinsured, and those who may have job, transportation, and other social insecurities. <Read More>

    Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript – May 5, 2021 – Thank you very much, and welcome to this Novo Nordisk earnings call for the first three months of 2021 and outlook for the year. I’m Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, the CEO of Novo Nordisk. With me, I have our Chief Financial Officer, Karsten Munk Knudsen; and Executive Vice President and Head of Development, Martin Holst Lange; also present and available for Q&A session is Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Camilla Sylvest…And as to channel mix, the positive factor on channel mix is mainly related to 340B, where we, basically, we stopped our shipments [Technical Issues] with the full year. We stopped our shipments to contract pharmacies, which enables us to avoid doubling of rebates and hence, a better channel mix impact on our insulin sales. That is, of course, only something one can do one time. I would have to say that on 340B, while comfortable in terms of what we included in the first quarter, of course, there’s still some uncertainty vis-a-vis legal cases and legislative impacts around future rule-making on a prospective basis. <Read More>

    Pharmacy Vendor Breach Exposes Data of 17,000+ Mohawk Valley Health Hospital Patients – May 5, 2021 – Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, an affiliate of Utica, N.Y.-based Mohawk Valley Health System, recently began notifying more than 17,000 patients that their protected health information had been exposed by a vendor data breach…Mohawk Valley Health System was notified of the breach March 30. In February, CaptureRx, a health IT company that helps hospitals manage the 340B drug program, noticed unusual activity in some files on its IT systems. MVHS and New Hartford, N.Y.-based Faxton St. Luke’s work with the vendor. <Read More>

    Removing Barrier: 340B Hospitals Offer More Pharmacy Medication Access Services – May 5, 2021 – Results from a study funded by Community Voices for 340B (CV340B) and published in the journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, show that hospitals that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program provide more medication access services compared to comparably sized non-340B hospitals. Established in 1992 by the United States Congress as part of the Public Health Service Act, 340B Drug Pricing Program which are services that help remove barriers to accessing necessary medications, was designed to provide discounted prices for outpatient drugs to eligible safety net providers, also known as “covered entities”, that provide care to the nation’s most vulnerable patient populations.  This includes services to the uninsured, underinsured, and those with barriers to accessing care – regardless of the patient’s ability to pay for such care. <Read More>

    Potential Implications of Policy Changes in Medicaid Drug Purchasing – May 4, 2021 – While prescription drug pricing was an issue at state and federal levels even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be increased attention to Medicaid prescription drug policies as states face fiscal pressures from the economic effects of the pandemic and as the federal government may seek spending offsets to upcoming legislation aimed to expand coverage.  Medicaid provides health coverage for millions of Americans, including many with substantial health needs who rely on Medicaid drug coverage both for acute problems and for managing ongoing chronic or disabling conditions…Medicaid drug pricing policies also have implications for providers that participate in the 340B program. The ceiling price, the price paid by entities in the 340B program for prescription drugs, is currently tied to the Medicaid rebate calculation. In addition, changes to how states administer the pharmacy benefit, either through FFS or MCOs, may impact the rules for how 340B entities interact with the Medicaid program and their revenue. <Read More>