A new era is coming for the Medicaid program—one that will spare the state and federal governments from overpaying for drugs and provide more pricing transparency to all parties involved.
Hoping to stem a new season of confusion over Medicare's Part D prescription drug benefit, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is asking pharmacists to prepare patients for the upcoming enrollment period.
The Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) set minimum federal standards for prescription drug coverage. Plans wanting to participate in the program could offer the standard benefit or a variation that was approved as actuarially equivalent by CMS. Most plans elected to modify the standard design with their own formularies and combination of enhanced benefits. Each plan sought the right combination of premium level, benefit package, formulary structure, and tiered co-pays that they believed would attract and keep an acceptable share of the market while generating a profit to the plan.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released Preventing Medication Errors, a 544-page report that is the fourth in its Quality Chasm series. The authors concluded that medication errors harm at least 1.5 million people per year in the United States. In addition, the cost of treating drug-related injuries that occur in hospitals alone conservatively amounts to $3.5 billion per year, according to the Committee on Identifying and Preventing Medication Errors, which wrote the report. The report was funded by the Department of Health & Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The generic pharmaceutical industry has been at odds with the Food & Drug Administration over several key issues lately, including authorized generics, facilitating the development of more generic agents, and approving generic biopharmaceuticals. At a recent conference in New York City sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), Scott Gottlieb, M.D., deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs at FDA, attempted to clarify the agency's position on several hot-button topics.