Pharmacy Industry News: Pharmacists catch up on MBA business know-how

Pharmacists catch up on MBA business know-how

The Kenan-Flagler school at UNC is the latest business school to take advantage of its university ties in launching a joint degree with another university department. While most business schools work with the engineering or medical departments, however, the North Carolina school will teach a dual-degree programme with the school of pharmacy.

The PharmD/MBA degree, which will be taught by professors at Kenan-Flagler and the Eshelman school of Pharmacy, will enable participants to earn both a doctorate in pharmacy and an MBA in five years. According to UNC, over the past two years, between 10 and 20 per cent of the incoming pharmacy class have expressed an interest in such a dual degree. Students will study pharmacy for two years then then study one year full-time in the MBA programme, followed by a combination of courses in the two schools in year four. The fifth year is spent in pharmacy-practice rotations.

Jim Dean, dean of Kenan-Flagler, says the programme will address the growing need in the healthcare industry for people who can make effective clinical, fiscal and managerial decisions. Graduates are expected to work in the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare management or as entrepreneurs.

Pharmacy OneSource Announces Free Webinar On Optimizing Core Measures

Implementing Pharmacist-Driven Clinical Programs to Enhance CMS Quality Scores

Wolters Kluwer Health announced recently that Pharmacy OneSource, software-as-a-service provider of Sentri7, a clinical surveillance, documentation and reporting application, is hosting a complimentary webinar with Youbin Kim and Sam Ho, from Riverside County Regional Medical Center, on “Optimizing Core Measures Performance through Pharmacist-Driven Programs.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Joint Commission worked together to align the measure specifications for Quality Improvement Organizations (QIO). Now CMS links reimbursement to the hospital quality-of-care data.

Kim, PharmD and Ho, PharmD, will describe various pharmacist-driven clinical programs at Riverside County Regional Medical Center that have enhanced the quality of patient care, improved CMS Core Measures, and provided safe use of medications with financial justifications.

Optimizing Core Measures Performance through Pharmacist-Driven Programs
DATE: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
TIME: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

About the Presenters: Dr. Youbin Kim received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from Butler University College of Pharmacy in 2005. Dr. Kim is the vice-chair of Clinical Pharmacy Specialty Programs at Riverside County Regional Medical Center. She is the lead pharmacist in pharmacist-driven core measures programs, specifically heart failure and stroke. Currently, RCRMC Clinical Pharmacy Specialty Programs offer various clinical programs including anticoagulation, antibiotic surveillance, core-measures, vaccination, oncology, and pharmacist-driven sepsis program.

Dr. Sam Ho received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from USC School of Pharmacy in 2010 and is dedicated to the Riverside County Regional Medical Center as the Director of Pharmacy Management Projects. Dr. Ho has special interests in health care administration, policy planning, and business management. He is planning a career in changing the image of pharmacy and pushing the profession forward through involvement in local, state, and national health care agencies. Currently, he is also pursuing a graduate degree for a Masters of Health Administration at USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

About Pharmacy OneSource
Pharmacy OneSource is healthcare’s #1 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider. Our more than 100 innovative team members provide best-in-class, SaaS solutions to current and future challenges within health-systems worldwide. Our SaaS solutions contribute to swift and safe healthcare through earlier, easier and better access to data. More than 1,300 healthcare organizations worldwide utilize our HIPAA compliant web-based services.

Legislature poised to repeal prescription protection law

Maine could soon shed a 2003 law designed to protect consumers from high drug costs and fraud perpetrated by pharmacy benefit managers, the corporate middlemen between insurance providers and employers and pharmaceutical companies and wholesalers.

Pharmacy benefit managers are contracted by employers who provide health insurance to process and pay prescription drug claims.

In two votes that broke mostly along party lines, the Republican-controlled Legislature gave preliminary approval to repeal the law, arguing that it was unnecessary and increased patient drug costs.

Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess, R-Cumberland, sponsored the bill that repeals the law. She said the Maine Attorney General’s Office could handle oversight of the industry.

During Wednesday’s debate in the House of Representatives, Strang Burgess said that while the protections and transparency in Maine law sounded like a good idea, the additional regulation had discouraged pharmacy benefit managers from doing business here.

She said the result was less competition and higher drug prices.

But opponents said repealing the law would remove a host of protections for consumers and independent pharmacies.

They say the existing law prevents benefit managers from switching patients to more expensive drugs and protects them from co-payments when the actual drug price is cheaper.

The law also requires benefit managers to promptly pay independent pharmacies and to negotiate drug prices in good faith.

Several independent pharmacies testified against the repeal bill in the public hearing.

Repeal proponents included the PBM industry. The Maine Merchants Association also favored the bill. The association said the current law hamstrung employers attempting to negotiate contracts with PBMs.

However, Rep. Sharon Treat, D-Hallowell, wondered why the Legislature would want to repeal a law that established “predatory pricing protections.”

Treat noted that 25 other states regulate PBMs. She acknowledged that Maine’s law was one of the most comprehensive.

Several Democrats joined the Republican majority supporting LD 1116 in the House.

The Senate vote, 21-14, broke along party lines with Sen. Richard Woodbury, U-Yarmouth, voting with the Democratic minority.

Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, attempted to introduce an amendment that would prohibit public or quasi-municipal agencies from contracting with a PBM if the company had committed fraud or had been penalized $500,000 by a state or federal agency within the previous three years of the contract.

Craven said she couldn’t imagine why other senators would want the state or another public agency to contract with a PBM that had been fined for misconduct.

Craven’s amendment was tabled by Republican leaders.

The pharmacy benefit managers industry has paid $371 million in damages over the past several years to several states for false claims, kickbacks and overcharging patients for generic drugs.

Maine’s law regulating PBMs was adopted eight years ago at the urging of former Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe. He believed providers in the largely unregulated industry should register with the state and disclose their dealings with pharmaceutical companies, including kickbacks to PBMs for promoting certain drugs, before doing business here.

The law was precipitated by a lawsuit against Medco Health Solutions, a PBM sued by Maine and 19 other states for violating consumer protection and mail fraud laws for “drug-switching,” the practice of changing patients’ drug prescriptions to similar drugs of therapeutic value but that pay the benefit managers higher rebates.

Medco, a New Jersey-based company, denied any wrongdoing but paid $29.3 million in a 2004 settlement. It also agreed to disclose the rebates it received from pharmaceutical companies.

The PBM industry, which manages the pharmacy benefits of more than 95 percent of Americans with health insurance, has fought the Maine law for years and succeeded in temporarily delaying its implementation in 2004.

The current repeal bill was backed by Medco, the company involved in the 2004 lawsuit, CVS Caremark and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. The PCMA represents the largest PBMs, including Medco, CVS, AdvancePCS and Express Scripts.

Two of those companies were active in the 2010 election. Medco donated more than $25,000 to candidates and political-action committees, as well as to Gov. Paul LePage. The contributions were evenly distributed between Democrats and Republicans, with significant portions going to leadership PACs.

TTC Study Points to Increasing Clinical Trial Costs in New Geographies

While the costs for all clinical trial phases are highest in the United States and the United Kingdom, these costs are rapidly increasing in new geographies. For Phase II-III Clinical Trials (2008-2009), cost per patient increases for the United States and Western Europe (excluding the UK) have averaged 3% to 4% annually. In contrast, clinical grants in the new geographies are increasing at rates over 14%.

These rising overhead rates continue to challenge pharmaceutical professionals in managing clinical studies. While the relative cost of conducting a clinical trial in a specific geography is not the sole driver in deciding where to establish study sites, relative costs do play an important role.

TTC’s GrantPlan® Database – created in association with users from pharmaceutical companies and clinical sites around the world – offers the data companies need to evaluate overhead costs and plan for other critical components they face in developing clinical grants.

News Facts:
In today’s research and development efforts, companies must know how to manage costs effectively, particularly in new geographies. Developing a drug now requires about $1 billion and clinical development costs comprise the bulk of this expense. GrantPlan® ensures that you are paying the appropriate amount and decreases the time you need to develop an investigator grant budget.
While per patient clinical grant fees vary by country, costs also vary between the different clinical sites within a particular country. The amount paid to a site represents a strategic decision for every company. GrantPlan® provides an understanding of the fair market range for every line item of the clinical grant.
Each year, drawing upon data in the GrantPlan database, TTC reports on the relative costs of clinical grants around the world. GrantPlan® subscribers conduct more than 76% of all the commercial clinical trials.
GrantPlan® covers the key components of grant costs, such as individual procedures, overhead rates, other direct costs, and site costs, including hourly rates, pharmacy fees, advertising fees and more.
GrantPlan® gives contract negotiation teams the ability to begin grant negotiations with enhanced data. GrantPlan® collects data from clinical studies in 60 countries from over 100 GrantPlan subscribers.

“Specifically, countries in close geographic proximity to Western Europe often have more experience in conducting clinical trials – and their cost structures are beginning to resemble those of the west accordingly. The Czech Republic is illustrative of this…In turn high demand for Czech sites has produced a steady increase in the country’s clinical research costs.” – The World’s Your Clinical Research Oyster

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