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All Things Pharmacy
January 16, 2019
Brought to you by PCM
Be in the Know
Breaking combo drugs down into their ingredients can save thousands.
The price of specialty drugs is not the only concern for patients.
Glaucoma drug recalled.
With cannabis edibles legal doesn't mean safe.
Focus: Cost Containment
Who determines drug prices?
Along with fireworks, champagne, and resolutions, we rang in 2020 with hundreds of drug price increases. New year, same challenge. However, even amid increasing prices, you can build a comprehensive cost containment strategy. Foundational to developing meaningful methods to cut spend is understanding the origin of these annual price increases; you must know where, and to whom, your pharmacy dollars are going.
Who determines drug prices?
The process of setting drug prices is complex. Pharmaceutical companies grab the headlines each January, but there are other major parties involved in setting medication price points. Below we look at the four major players: manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and PBMs.
The price tags of combo drugs are comparable to those of new, cutting-edge therapies, but are simply convenient combinations of two or more common, often inexpensive, medications. Dr. David Merritt, PCM Chief Pharmacist explains, "Drug companies are taking drugs that are proven safe and effective alone, putting them together, without any new research, and charging substantially more. They offer discount cards so patients never see the actual cost of the combo drug, but employers and insurers end up paying thousands on the back end."
Breaking combo drugs down into their parts can save thousands of dollars. Learn how to identify combo drugs with PCM Analytics here.
Cervical health starts with testing
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. There is a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity, and it causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don't know they are infected.
The good news? The HPV vaccine can prevent HPV.
Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests and follow-up care. Women should start getting regular cervical cancer screenings at age 21, and parents should make sure their pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12. Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn't get it as pre-teens. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine. Thanks to the health care reform law, you and your family may be able to get these services at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more.
For over 10 years, Prescription Care Management has been solving complex pharmacy problems
with a client-centric approach. Simply put, we help self-insured organizations see where their
pharmacy dollars are going and cut spend where it counts.
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