What to Know

As we mentioned in November, CMS is looking to adjust the payments pharmacies receive, and has asked states to look at both the dispensing fee and the pricing formulas they use. Those “should reflect pharmacists’ professional services,” as CMS put it.

So Georgia’s Department of Community Health had a meeting on December 8 — attended by our own Greg Reybold — in which the DPH board adopted a dispensing fee of $10.64 in connection with the Outpatient Drug Pricing program, which is in line with neighboring state Alabama’s fee.

The new fee will be implemented no later than April 2017, and we’ll keep you updated with any news.

Correction: The original version of this post said it was the Board of Pharmacy adopting the changes. It was the DPH board. We regret the error.

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 09, 2016

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A single tweet knocked Express Scripts’ stock price by almost 10%.

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 09, 2016

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They, too, need to get a flu shot. Half don’t get them.

The most recent CDC study on influenza vaccination among pregnant women (2015–16 influenza season) reported overall coverage of 50%; an estimated 14% of women were vaccinated ≤5–6 months before pregnancy and 36% were vaccinated during pregnancy.

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 09, 2016

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And NCPA applauds. The bill, after it’s signed by President Obama, allows any participating pharmacy “to purchase medications for their TRICARE patients (that are not Medicare eligible) at rates currently available only via the mail order program and at military treatment facilities.”

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 09, 2016

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As the opioid epidemic spreads, so too is distribution and use of naloxone, which combats overdoses. More first responders and even schools are stocking it. So what do you do if you’re one of the drug’s makers? You raise the price, of course.

Each formulation of naloxone — two injection doses, Narcan nasal spray, and Evzio auto-injector — essentially has one supplier. Though there are three manufacturers with FDA approval for 0.4-mg-per-milliliter-dose injections, the vast majority are sold by Hospira, which has increased the price by 129% since 2012.

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 09, 2016

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This is not only unsurprising, it was expected — and hopefully guidelines will adjust. People with chronic pain who need high-dose opioids to function are finding it harder and harder to get them. These aren’t addicts; these are people with legitimate chronic pain who are running into prescribing guidelines — and doctors who are afraid to give them opioids.

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 09, 2016

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More than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2015, setting a record. And for the first time, heroin-overdose deaths alone outnumbered gun deaths in the U.S.

Overall, overdose deaths rose 11 percent last year, to 52,404. By comparison, the number of people who died in car crashes was 37,757, an increase of 12 percent. Gun deaths, including homicides and suicides, totaled 36,252, up 7 percent.

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 09, 2016

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The LeadershipGPhA program trains Georgia’s next generation of pharmacist leaders, taking Georgia pharmacists who demonstrate leadership potential and honing those leadership skills, motivating them to participate not only in the association, but as community leaders representing the pharmacy profession.

The 2016-2017 class held the first of its four retreats at the Rock Eagle 4-H Conference Center near Eatonton, where it focused on two things: coming together as a class and developing self-awareness of their leadership style and preferences.

Helping them along was Georgia Pharmacy Convention 2016 keynoter Allison Linney. She followed GPhA’s Scott Brunner, Tim Short, Lance Boles, and Liza Chapman, who discussed with the class their pathway to GPhA leadership. This year’s class:

Casey Allen-Hayes of Greensboro; Putnam General Hospital (PharmD on Demand)
Erin Aviles of Atlanta; Kroger
Bryce Carter of Peachtree Corners; Dunwoody Pharmacy
Michael Crooks of Marietta; Alliant Quality
Joe Holt of Valdosta; Pruitt Health
Brent Lake of Augusta; Augusta University
Lamar Leslie of Warner Robbins; Taylor Regional Hospital (PharmD on Demand)
Kyle Lott of West Green; Bacon County Hospital and Health System
Michelle McNeill of Watkinsville; PharmD on Demand
Eric Miller of Warner Robbins; ElderCare
Sujal Patel of Kennesaw; Rite Aid
Don Piela Jr. of Bishop; Madden’s Pharmacy
Paige Price of Valdosta; Pharmacy Alternatives
Ben Ross of Statesboro; Forest Heights Pharmacy
Carlie Traylor of Hahira; Chancy Drugs
Shauna Markes-Wilson of Buford; Walgreens

Read more about this next generation of pharmacy leaders in the upcoming issue of Georgia Pharmacy.

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 09, 2016

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They’ve been legal in Georgia for the past five years. (And technically legal across the country.) No takers. From Georgia Health News:

“The state Legislature in 2011 passed a bill letting insurers sell any policies in Georgia that they offer in other states. […] The law is still in effect. But since it was passed, no health insurer has taken advantage of it.

And since January, an obscure provision of the ACA has been in effect, letting individual states agree among themselves to allow sales by one another’s health insurance companies. But no states have signaled interest in forming such compacts.”

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 08, 2016

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Sure, why not — when it comes from Mylan Pharmaceuticals. Atlanta’s WSB reports (and features GPhA member and pharmacist Mina Yun).

“Channel 2’s Craig Lucie reached out to a local pharmacist after discovering this dramatic price increase, and she told Lucie basically what’s in the tube can be bought over the counter for under $20.”

—Andrew Kantor • Dec. 08, 2016

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