All Things Pharmacy

June 24, 2020

Brought to you by PCM

To our clients, partners, team members and friends:

 

We wanted to reach out and provide the latest news, some pharmacy-related tips, and words of encouragement as we all navigate this unprecedented time. COVID-19 is affecting every element of our lives, but in unity, we will persevere. Stay well. Stay safe. And don't forget to wash your hands! Thank you, from all of us at PCM.

 

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Focus: COVID-19 

Be in the Know

 

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Focus: Treatment

COVID-19 Treatment: Where Are We?

As some states lift stay-at-home orders amid growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, scientists worldwide are working on potential treatments and vaccines.

 

The complexity of drug development and manufacturing makes it unlikely that a new therapy specific to coronavirus will be developed soon. However, many existing medications used to treat other conditions are being touted as potential remedies for COVID-19.

 

Read More

 

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Focus: Unity

We're All in This Together 

 

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Focus: Mental health

Returning to work: Prioritizing mental health

 

From hand washing to mask wearing and split shifts, employers are implementing prevention measures to help employees and patrons remain healthy as businesses open back up. While physical infection prevention is important, employees should also take time to focus on their mental well-being.

 

These simple techniques can be used every day to ease mental burden:

 

  1. Take five deep, slow breaths five times per day. Try breathing when you wash your hands.

  2. Get at least seven hours of sleep per night to boost your immune system and brain.

  3. Purposefully practice mindfulness at least once per day.

  4. Eat a healthful diet and avoid too much alcohol.

  5. Create a plan with your family to ease into the back-to-work transition.

 

Coming back to work in the midst of a pandemic can be unpredictable. With different working conditions, new sanitation protocols, and increased public exposure, you may feel increased stress or anxiety. The typical workday does not look the same as it did six months ago, but by understanding the safety precautions that are in place and practicing good mental health, the new way of work may not seem so bad. 

 

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. 

Copyright © Prescription Care Management

 

Call us at 800.281.7050

Email us at sales@pcmsavings.com

4790 Caughlin Parkway, #396, Reno, NV 89519

All Things Pharmacy

May 8, 2019

Brought to you by PCM

 

To our clients, partners, team members and friends:

 

We wanted to reach out and provide the latest news, some pharmacy-related tips, and words of encouragement as we all navigate this unprecedented time. COVID-19 is affecting every element of our lives, but in unity, we will persevere. Stay well. Stay safe. And don't forget to wash your hands! Thank you, from all of us at PCM.

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Focus: Prevention + Treatment

Be in the Know

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Focus: Preparedness

Another COVID-19 side effect: Drug shortages

Even before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the United States’ healthcare system, the availability and price of prescription drugs were a concern for many people. This concern is growing in the aftermath of panicked stockpiling of some medications. This sudden lack of supply has caused temporary drug shortages across the country.

 

For example, hydroxychloroquine, touted by some government officials as a coronavirus cure, is now scarce for patients with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, two conditions the drug is proven to treat. Similarly, recent experimental use of famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, has spurred some to hoard the common heartburn drug, making it inaccessible for others.

 

Much like toilet paper and canned goods, many of the drugs stockpiled in the early days of COVID-19 will become available as pharmacies rebuild supplies. However, some experts are warning of more long-term shortages due to restricted supplies of the raw materials used in many common drugs, especially generics.

Read More

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Focus: Unity

We're all in this together 

 

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Focus: Mentally healthy

Returning to work: What employers and employees can expect

As some states begin lifting stay-at-home restrictions and businesses begin to reopen, things may look and operate differently at your favorite boutique, gym, or restaurant. Following CDC guidelines, employers are working hard to ensure the health of their employees and customers by implementing changes such as:

 

  • Before beginning a shift, employees should have their temperature taken and complete a symptom assessment.

  • Social distancing should be practiced in the work place.

  • Employees should wear face masks.

  • Work areas and surfaces should be cleaned frequently.

  • Headsets and other equipment used around the face area must not be shared.

  • Employees who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days to limit further exposure.

 

Social distancing, increased hygiene, and other precautions have been shown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Reopening businesses is a step to a new, post-pandemic normal, but must be done with caution and in compliance with suggested health guidelines. 

 

If you are returning to work, be careful to maintain social distancing where possible, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, and stay home when you are sick. Reopening may be slow but it will be most effective if everyone makes healthful decisions.

 

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. 

Copyright © Prescription Care Management

 

Call us at 800.281.7050

Email us at sales@pcmsavings.com

4790 Caughlin Parkway, #396, Reno, NV 89519

All Things Pharmacy

April 2, 2019

Brought to you by PCM

To our clients, partners, team members and friends:

 

We wanted to reach out and provide the latest news, some pharmacy-related tips, and words of encouragement as we all navigate this unprecedented time. COVID-19 is affecting every element of our lives, but in unity, we will persevere. Stay well. Stay safe. And don't forget to wash your hands! Thank you, from all of us at PCM.

 

Focus: Prevention + Treatment

Be in the Know

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Focus: Preparedness

Creating emergency medication reserves

The severe state of emergency facing our global community has resulted in many of us staying home, with limited outside contact, in a united effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). In preparation for this isolation period, we have stocked up on food, household supplies, and toilet paper, but how many of us have prepared reserves of necessary, life-sustaining medication to get through the pandemic?

   

Dr. David Merritt, PharmD, RPH, Chief Pharmacist for PCM, explains the importance of creating medication reserves in case of emergency, “It is vital to refill essential prescription medications for chronic conditions in the wake of COVID-19. Refill your medication for a full 30- or 90-day period if your insurance benefits allow. As with any natural disaster, COVID-19 could get worse before getting better, which would make getting prescriptions filled more difficult. It is time to get prepared.”

 

How do you create an emergency medication reserve? Read More

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Focus: Unity

We're all in this together 

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Focus: Mentally healthy

Strategies to build mental resilience

 

The uncertainty and social isolation of the coronavirus pandemic can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming. Below are six tips you can implement daily to build mental resilience:

1. Manage your emotions first. Taking care of your own mental and emotional health is essential to being able to think clearly to protect yourself and your family. Think of the speech parents flying with young children receive before take-off; while it might seem counter-intuitive, you must put on your own mask first to able to help your child. This also applies to your mental health. Take care of yourself first.

 

2. Remember to breathe. Set aside time to take a deep breath. Find a comfortable place, close your eyes, slowly breathe in, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale. Notice how your body rises and falls with each breath. Repeat until your body and mind feel clear.

 

3. Find a healthy routine. Focus on getting enough sleep, moving your body, and eating healthful meals. Plan time to be outside if possible.  If you are pulled in too many directions (looking at you, parents), set a daily or weekly schedule, and share household duties with your partner or older children.

 

4. Do things you enjoy. Take time to do something you enjoy. Especially if it serves no purpose but to make you happy. Read a book, play a game, watch your favorite sitcom, or complete a puzzle. Remember to laugh and take some time for yourself.

 

5. Unplug. Turn off the TV or computer to unplug from the news and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Set limits on media use.

 

6. Connect with others (from a distance of at least 6 feet). Studies have shown that connecting with and helping others creates positive mental health benefits. Use available technology to interact with loved ones. Share kind words, uplifting stories, or a good laugh.

 

If you find that your anxiety or fears are interrupting your daily life and negative feelings last for several days or longer, know that there are people to help. You never have to fight alone. Reach out to your doctor, counselor, religious leader, or friend, or call the hotline number below:

Call SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990

Text: TalkWithUs to 66746

 

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. 

Copyright © Prescription Care Management

 

Call us at 800.281.7050

Email us at sales@pcmsavings.com

4790 Caughlin Parkway, #396, Reno, NV 89519

All Things Pharmacy

March 4, 2019

Brought to you by PCM

Focus: News

Be in the Know

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Focus: Pharmacy Analytics

Database searches and spreadsheets are not analytics

 

If you rely on spreadsheets, SQL, or your data team to generate pharmacy plan reports, you are wasting time and overhead. With over 50 fields and hundreds of thousands of lines in a standard pharmacy claims file, traditional pharmacy reporting is tedious and slow. The output may provide a summary view of different facets of the Rx plan, but the time required to manually cull this complex data often leaves little time to identify actionable insights for the plan sponsor.

 

In contrast, true data analytics aggregates and displays pharmacy claims so that the client can make highly informed plan decisions. Data analytics dissects plan utilization, pricing details, and trends into nuggets of actionable information without time-consuming manual calculations. Traditional reporting provides claims summarily. Data analytics provides suggestions and highlights opportunities to affect change.

 

Read More

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Focus: Savings

What is DAW? 

 

Dispense as Written (DAW) codes are used by physicians and pharmacies to indicate if and why a generic alternative to a prescribed brand drug was filled. While occasionally a brand drug is medically or legally necessary, DAW codes can automatically exclude generic drugs without cause. In these instances, plan sponsors may be overpaying for brand name drugs when lower cost alternatives are available. 

 

DAW codes are located in the claims files to inform insurers, PBMs, and plan sponsors how a prescription was filled and if discounts were impacted. Examining this data allows plan sponsors to identify which physicians or pharmacies are using DAW codes to eliminate generic fills.

 

Learn how to identify DAW codes with a comprehensive analytics tool here.

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Focus: Health

Get more sleep for heart-healthy living

 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women. Taking preventative measures such as checking your blood pressure, choosing heart-healthy foods, and managing stress can lower your chances of getting heart disease, but did you know that getting enough quality sleep can also improve your heart health.

 

Quality sleep helps heal and repair your heart and blood vessels. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults 18 years and older get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a day. Dedicating enough time to sleep and creating a restful environment can all help you live your most health-healthy life.

 

Read more about heart-healthy strategies, here.

 

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. 

Copyright © Prescription Care Management

 

Call us at 800.281.7050

Email us at sales@pcmsavings.com

4790 Caughlin Parkway, #396, Reno, NV 89519

All Things Pharmacy

January 16, 2019

Brought to you by PCM

 

Focus: News

Be in the Know

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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.

Read More

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Focus: Analytics

Combo drugs

 

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.

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Focus: Health

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. To get more information about Cervical Awareness month and HPV prevention, click here.

 

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. 

Copyright © Prescription Care Management

 

Call us at 800.281.7050

Email us at sales@pcmsavings.com

4790 Caughlin Parkway, #396, Reno, NV 89519

All Things Pharmacy

December 18, 2019

Brought to you by PCM

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In this month's issue I wanted to share a letter from our CFO recapping our year in pharmacy. I have enjoyed sharing our newsletter with you and look forward to 2020. 

Wishing you a happy holiday!

Linda Brokaski

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2019 was quite the year. For our clients it started with the frustration of rising drug prices but ended with some much-needed pharmacy cheer. The implementation of our new pharmacy analytics tool has put many of our clients in control of their pharmacy spend. From school districts to health systems our partners have a greater understanding of their claims, spend, and participants to make more informed benefit decisions. We couldn’t be more grateful to work alongside such forward-thinking, industrious partners.

 

This year has been one of growth not only for our clients and team but for the entire industry. Increased focus has been directed at lowering costs to make prescription drugs more accessible for patients and pharmacy benefits more economical for organizations. Conversations by industry leaders have resulted in the development of innovative, out-of-the-box solutions that are affecting real change.

This holiday season we are honored to be a part of a pharmacy community dedicated to answering difficult questions, creating pioneering solutions, and focusing on improved outcomes. We are humbled to continue our tireless work providing the highest level of care, service, and savings for our clients, partners, and friends into the New Year.

Many blessings and good health to you and yours this season.

Garret D’Antoni, CFO

Prescription Care Management

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Focus: News

Be in the Know

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Focus: Reader favorites

2019 Top Blogs

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Focus: Health

 

Fighting the winter blues

The holiday season inevitably brings family and friends together around delicious treats. This season also bring seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression caused by the changing seasons. Symptoms of SAD usually peak during the winter months, but there are ways to use all of that holiday food to help ease SAD. 

 

1. Eat more lean protein to help battle fatigue

2. Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids to boost your mood

3. Battle stress by eating berries

4. Limit sugar to balance your emotions

5. Add folic acid to fight the blues

6. Fit in B-12 to increase energy

7. Up Vitamin D to absorb sunshine (literally)

8. Snack on dark chocolate to feel happier

9. Prepare turkey to relax

10. Grab a banana to reduce anxiety

 

For more information on altering your diet to battle SAD this winter season, click here.

 

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. 

Copyright © Prescription Care Management

 

Call us at 800.281.7050

Email us at sales@pcmsavings.com

4790 Caughlin Parkway, #396, Reno, NV 89519

All Things Pharmacy

November 19, 2019

Brought to you by PCM

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Focus: News

Be in the Know

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Focus: Analytics

Part 2: What is your pharmacy strategy for 2020?

Last month we gave you two strategies, carefully developed by our pharmacy team, that can help you craft a solid approach to pharmacy benefits. Let’s review:  

 

Strategy 1: Monitor NDC Exclusions. Know what NDCs your plan covers and be on the look-out for significant anomalies in prescription prices to ensure you are covering the most cost-effective drugs.

 

Strategy 2: Expect PBM accountability. Periodically compare contracted rebates, dispensing fees, and discounts to actual rates paid in claims to ensure your plan guarantees are being met.

 

With a solid pharmacy strategy, you can make 2020 the year you control pharmacy spend and put your plan on the path to financial sustainability. This month, we are discussing two more strategies that help you dig into your pharmacy data, start conversations, and impact positive change.

Read More

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Focus: Savings

 

Engaging physicians to cut spend

Who is writing high-cost prescriptions?

 

It's not the health plan, the pharmacy, the PBM, or the pharmaceutical company.

 

It's the physician.

 

While the process of setting and controlling drug costs is complex, the key to finding measurable, long-term savings is simple. With the right information about true drug costs, cost-effective alternatives, and focus on quality of care, conscientious physicians will make economical prescribing decisions for their patients. Engaging physicians not only combats high drug costs but promotes better health for your participants.

 

See how PCM is engaging physicians here.

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Focus: Health

Diabetes quick facts

 

Over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, so it is likely that you know someone living with this disease. In honor of National Diabetes Month, here are some quick facts about the three types of diabetes:

 

Type 1 Diabetes: When your body does not produce insulin, you have type 1 diabetes. This type affects people of every age, race, shape, and size. Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin therapy and lifestyle changes. 

 

Type 2 Diabetes: The most common type of diabetes, accounting for 90-95% of diabetes cases, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not properly process insulin. It is most commonly managed with diet and fitness changes and oral medication. 

 

Gestational Diabetes: With no symptoms or known causes, a diagnosis of gestational diabetes during pregnancy can be scary, but treatable. Millions of women have healthy pregnancies and babies by carefully following treatment plans including diet, exercise, and medication. 

 

Diabetes is becoming increasing prevalent. In the last 20 years, the number of adults with diabetes has more than doubled. If you or a loved one has increased risk factors, seek testing and work on prevention. With proper management, many people with diabetes live their best lives, doing everything they set out to do.

 

For more information on diabetes click here

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Copyright © Prescription Care Management

 

Call us at 800.281.7050

Email us at sales@pcmsavings.com

4790 Caughlin Parkway, #396, Reno, NV 89519

All Things Pharmacy

October 23, 2019

Brought to you by PCM

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Focus: News

Be in the Know

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Focus: Analytics

What is your pharmacy strategy for 2020?

Another year has nearly passed with little change in how the pharmacy industry operates. Pharmaceutical companies are still raising drug prices, PBMs are still receiving clawbacks, and brokers and employers are still searching for the magic formula to save money.

 

Fortunately, we do know that the variables of that seemingly elusive formula are found in pharmacy claims. Those binders, spreadsheets, and charts you receive every year at renewal contain the details needed to affect positive change for your pharmacy plan – you just have to know where to look. Don’t waste another year doing what you’ve always done and hoping for the best. Start developing a solid pharmacy strategy now to finally control pharmacy spend in 2020.

 

The foundation of a solid strategy

An effective, cost-savings pharmacy strategy is built on deeper visibility into your pharmacy claims. In order to control spend, you must identify exactly where your money is going. However, with over 50 fields and hundreds, if not millions, of rows in a standard claims file, it can seem all but impossible to productively aggregate your data.

 

Start by asking questions. Many common pain points are not explicitly included in standard reports, so creating an effective strategy starts by initiating discussions about pharmacy claims with key stakeholders.

Our pharmacy team has developed four strategies that will help you dig into your pharmacy data. Today we’re sharing two of those strategies to help you start conversations and begin building a solid 2020 pharmacy strategy.

Read More

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Focus: PGx

PGx: Encourage informed medication decisions

Trial-and-error is not a treatment plan. Pharmacogenomics testing (PGx) is a simple oral swab that identifies drug-gene interactions in a patient, helping patients and doctors make informed medication decisions.

 

Certain drugs are more effective with certain genotypes. By identifying drug-gene interactions, doctors can make more informed medication decisions. PGx is most commonly applied to pain management, psychiatric, neurological, blood thinners, anti-anxiety, opioids, and cardiac therapies.

 

With PGx testing, people experience better health outcomes and may save money on prescription drugs.

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Focus: Health

Identify Breast Cancer Early

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer in their life.

 

Fortunately, most women can survive breast cancer if it is identified and treated early. If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk to your with your doctor about when to get a mammogram. If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every two years.

 

If you have close family members who have had breast or ovarian cancer or you have multiple risk factors, talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram and setting up a prevention plan.

 

Learn more about risk factors and treatment here.

 

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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Copyright © Prescription Care Management

 

Call us at 800.281.7050

Email us at sales@pcmsavings.com

4790 Caughlin Parkway, #396, Reno, NV 89519

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