Pharmacy Newsroom

Pharmacy Newsroom is AAP's information resource for independent community pharmacies. We highlight news about new medications, pharmacy legal issues and tips to grow your business.

January 2023 Will Bring Wave of New State Laws Targeting Drug Prices and PBMs

Courtesy of Apotex

With the adjournment of the California Assembly on August 31, only four state legislatures remain in session for 2022—Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey. (As of this writing, Missouri is in Special Session to deal with state tax issues; a state legislature calendar is available here.) The National Conference of State Legislatures bill tracking database shows that through August, 418 bills had been introduced, in 47 states, directly addressing prescription drug-related issues. Read more.

Published
Categorized as Legal Notes

A Last Minute Approval Gives FDA User Fee Reauthorization

Courtesy of Apotex

At last! After nearly a year of committee hearings and political maneuvering, Congress finally has approved legislation to reauthorize FDA’s user fee programs for brand and generic drugs, biosimilars, and medical devices. The current programs expire with the close of fiscal year 2022 on September 30. Reauthorization will enable FDA to continue collecting application and facility user fees from industry for fiscal years 2023 through 2027, a 5-year period that begins October 1. Read more.

Published
Categorized as Legal Notes

Judge Rejects Antitrust Challenge to UnitedHealth Acquisition

A federal judge ruled on September 19, 2022, against a Justice Department antitrust challenge to UnitedHealth‘s $13 billion acquisition of health-technology firm Change Healthcare, rejecting government claims that the deal would unlawfully suppress competition and limit innovation in health-insurance markets.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols ruled for the companies in an opinion that he kept under seal for now because he said it “may contain competitively sensitive information.” The judge said he would release a redacted public version of the ruling in the coming days. In a one-page public order, he denied the Justice Department’s request to block the companies from completing the deal. Read more

Published
Categorized as Legal Notes

FDA Finalizes Rule Allowing OTC Access to Hearing Aids

Millions of Americans will soon have access to lower cost hearing aids, thanks to a final rule from the FDA aiming to improve access to them. The rule creates a category of OTC hearing aids, which allows a patient, ages 18+, with mild to moderate hearing impairment to purchase a hearing aid from a pharmacy or online retailer without a medical exam, prescription, or adjustment by an audiologist. Read more.

Inflation Reduction Act Becomes Law: How Will It Affect Health Care?

Under the new law, the U.S. government is now able to negotiate prices on the costliest prescription drugs, cap costs at $2,000 per year for people on Medicare, limit the monthly cost of insulin to $35 for seniors, and extend subsidies for people buying their own health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The law also provides free vaccines for seniors. Read more.

What to expect in the 2022 – 2023 flu season

Flu season is fast approaching. And it’s more important than ever for patients, particularly those who are at risk, to be vaccinated against influenza. Adults 65 and older, along with those with severe health problems, people of color and those of lower socio-economic status are at higher risk of developing severe complications from the illness. Getting vaccinated can help protect these vulnerable populations. Learn more about the selected strains, changes to vaccine recommendations and what to expect next.

Under Attack: Protecting your patients’ personal information

Did you know that more than one-third of health care organizations in the United States were hit by ransomware attacks in 2020? Approximately 65% of these attacks were successful, and approximately one-third of the organizations that had data stolen paid up. However, only 69% of organizations that paid ransom actually got their data back. Here are some tips to help you protect your patients’ information. Read more

PBM ruling for North Dakota stands

With PCMA’s failure to file its appeal by the July 11, 2022 deadline, North Dakota can regulate PBMs as it sees fit. PCMA has exhausted its legal options. So, the ruling in PCMA vs. Wehbi is now the law of the land for the states in the 8th Circuit (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota). Read more

FDA gives emergency authorization to Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Novavax, a biotechnology company in Maryland that received significant federal funding to produce the shot. 

The vaccine will be a new option for Americans as vaccination rates stagnate. The vaccine is authorized as a primary immunization series for adults, rather than a booster. However, the shots can’t be administered until the CDC signs off on the recommendation later this month. Read more.

Florida Governor DeSantis signs PBM executive order

As expected, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the PBM transparency order.  The order is aimed at lowering the price of prescription drugs. AAP Member Ben Levine was at the governor’s side during the signing. Levine calls this order a victory for all Floridians. “This transparency will really help drive down drug prices, and also improve access for patients in our community so that they can go to the pharmacy they choose.” Read more about the executive order.

AAP Member Ben Levine

FDA allows pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid for COVID-19 treatment

01 March 2022, Berlin: The drug Paxlovid against Covid-19 from the manufacturer Pfizer is lying on a table. Photo: Fabian Sommer/dpa (Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

It’s a win for pharmacies, which had been pushing for the FDA to allow them to prescribe the medication, saying that it would ultimately expand access to the antivirals. 

Paxlovid is authorized for the treatment of “mild-to-moderate” COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients that have tested positive and are considered to be at high risk of developing severe disease.

Read more about the authorization.

Visit AAP at RBC in Las Vegas July 13-16

AAP is looking forward to celebrating and supporting independent pharmacies at Cardinal Health’s Retail Business Conference (RBC), July 13-16, in Las Vegas. Make plans to stop by the AAP Resource Room in Mandalay Bay, Level 2, Breakers Ballrooms K – L. Enjoy interactive sessions on ProfitAmp and SmartSync, plus a special Members-only reception on Thursday evening. Learn more about the event here.

Published
Categorized as Updates

Cardinal Health issues new alert on fraudulent activity

Cardinal Health issued a new alert regarding recently reported fraudulent activity. There are reports of individuals falsely claiming to be representatives from pharmaceutical wholesalers and courier service employees. This is an industry-wide issue, as criminals attempt to place orders and intercept delivery of the product. Be on the lookout, and read the full alert here.

Tips for improving patient engagement and education

More than 90 percent of people in the United States live within five miles of a community pharmacy. Additionally, patients visit the pharmacy twice as often as they visit their primary healthcare provider. So, your pharmacy can make a significant impact on the lives of your community members, but you must get them through the door first.

One way is standing out from your competition by personalizing your services. From simple handwritten, thank you notes for a new patient to loyalty programs or just recognizing a birthday, the possible ways to connect with patients are endless. To learn more ideas about how to increase your pharmacy customer base, watch the AAP Preferred Partner webinar from TDS here.

Digital medication information reduces your printing costs

Have you ever thought about what it would take for your pharmacy to go green? If you could give your patients their medication information digitally, it would save you thousands of dollars every year in paper and toner costs. Our Preferred Partner, Vuca Health, has an innovative solution called MedsOnCue. Their platform has a library of informational videos about hundreds of medications, in both English and Spanish. 

The system can integrate into your pharmacy’s system and deliver the medication information video straight to your patient’s computer, smartphone or tablet. To learn more about MedsOnCue, watch our AAP Preferred Partner webinar from Vuca Health here.

Setting business goals and measuring success

Do you know what your pharmacy will look like in three-, five- or even 10 years? Do you have milestones you are trying to reach and a plan to meet them? Creating a strategic plan and sticking to it is your only chance for long-term success. By analyzing your pharmacy’s finances, operations and team growth, PDS can help you establish your strategic objectives and implement metrics for success. 

To learn how the PDS system works, watch the AAP Preferred Partner webinar here.

Tips for making your pharmacy more successful

We know that every pharmacy faces different challenges. That is why we partner with a variety of vendors to give you choices that address YOUR business needs. Our Preferred Partner, Rx30, can make your pharmacy faster and more efficient by optimizing your workflow and customizing it around you.

Check out the AAP Preferred Partner webinar about the types of tools they can provide your business. From integrated pharmacy point-of-sale to insurance claim reconciliation or pharmacy inventory management, Rx30 has a solution for you.

How pharmacies should bill for medical services

Independent pharmacies are the cornerstone of every community. And the role your pharmacy plays in your community is constantly evolving. You are not just filling scripts. You are doing healthcare counseling and testing. In many underserved areas, you are becoming the primary care provider for many patients. 

But the question is – how do you bill for all of these services you are offering? In this Preferred Partner webinar, EnLivenHealth explains some of the programs they offer to help you navigate the medical billing system. Watch the webinar here.