US  Pharm. 2007;32(8):6.

CMS Releases Final Medicaid Reimbursement Rule
Washington, D.C. -- The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) expressed outrage in reaction to CMS' final rule to reduce Medicaid reimbursements, particularly Medicaid's pharmacy reimbursement formula for generic prescription drugs. The association, which represents independent pharmacists and more than 24,000 independent pharmacies nationwide, said that the new reimbursement formula will pay community pharmacies well below their acquisition cost for generic prescription drugs for Medicaid patients. Appearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, Tony Civello, President and CEO of Kerr Drug and former chairman of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), called the rule "unacceptable" and not "fair and reasonable for community pharmacies." NCPA said it would work with a bipartisan coalition of U.S. House and Senate members to enact a "legislative fix." If not amended, the new Medicaid reimbursement policy will go into effect on October 1 and will be fully incorporated on January 30, 2008, once all the pricing data is compiled.

Kmart Expands Its Generic Program
Hoffman Estates, Ill. -- Kmart will expand its 90-Day Generic Drug Program to include more than 300 medications, an increase of nearly 70 new generic medications, including sertraline, simvastatin, and 17 different formulations of popular generic prenatal vitamins. The program is an attempt to compete with popular mail-order prescription plans. The 90-Day Generic Drug Program offers a lower out-of-pocket cost than most mail-order prescription coverage, said Mark Doerr, RPh, Vice President of Kmart Pharmacy. The program, which is available in all Kmart pharmacies, offers patients a 90-day supply of covered generics for only $15.

Former Surgeon General Speaks Out About White House Interference
Washington, D.C. -- Former surgeon general Richard H. Carmona has accused the Bush administration of interfering with his viewpoints on such sensitive topics as stem cell research, abstinence-only sex education, and the emergency contraceptive Plan B. Referencing stem cell research, Carmona said that the discussions he had with the White House were "being driven by theology, ideology, [and] preconceived beliefs that were scientifically incorrect." The White House rejected his claims of political interference.

New Rx Pad Requirement Puts Medicaid Prescriptions in Jeopardy
Washington, D.C. -- A provision in the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007, which is scheduled to commence on October 1, requires that prescriptions covered by Medicaid be executed in written form only if a "tamper-resistant pad" is used. Most medication orders in long-term care facilities are communicated by the physician to the nursing staff via telephone or written order, similar to the procedure used in a hospital setting. "The logistical challenge of getting all medication orders for these residents also written separately on tamper-resistant prescription pads would just be unworkable," said Thomas R. Clark, RPh, MHS, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP). Therefore, to ensure that Medicaid recipients are not denied access to medications, the ASCP is urging CMSto provide an exception to these facilities that permits telephone orders, facsimile transmission of orders, and the use of standard medication order sheets.

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