Weekly Rx Roundup for June 29, 2023

Your weekly independent pharmacy news update

Senate considers bill to combat high DIR fees

The Protect Patient Access to Pharmacies Act (S. 2052) was introduced this week to the U.S. Senate. This bill addresses the abusive business practices by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that have resulted in the growth of pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees and have led to pharmacy closures.

The bill, supported by NCPA and APhA among others, will help to secure Medicare patients’, who are typically seniors, freedom to receive medications and care from the pharmacy of their choice by improving enforcement of the “any willing pharmacy” law. This law is intended to prevent the exclusion of pharmacies from Part D plan networks.

The Patient Access Act is only the most recent effort working toward DIR fee relief as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule made in early 2022 goes into effect in the beginning of 2024. CMS’ proposed rule will work to reduce the financial burden on independent pharmacies and increase transparency in the PBM industry. Read more.

Approval for GLP-1-based weight loss pills on the FDA horizon?

The buzz about Eli Lilly’s experimental pill for weight loss is growing. Retatrutide helped people lose an average of 15% of their body weight after 36 weeks on the highest dose in a mid-stage trial, and as much as 24% of their weight over 48 weeks — the biggest reduction reported to date in clinical trials of a new class of obesity treatments. These results are rivaling what’s seen with currently approved injectable therapies like Wegovy over longer durations.

The drug, orforglipron, had similar side effects as others in the class, known as GLP-1 receptor agonists: primarily gastrointestinal events like nausea, constipation and vomiting, researchers reported in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Read more.

Categorized as Updates