Magazine article Drug Topics


Magazine article Drug Topics


Article excerpt

Don't mandate residency program

Should pharmacists be required to take a residency program by the year 2020 before they can provide direct patient care? I think that should be left up to the pharmacist, depending on what kind of job he is seeking or eventually desires and/or the amount of responsibility he is willing to assume.

Johnny L. McGiII, R.Ph., CFEI

Is Part D fine as it is?

When I read HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt's comments on Medicare Part D-that 75% of those covered are very satisfied, that there can be no lowering of drug prices through government negotiation, that premiums have actually decreased, that new drugs are available, that the program is actually under budget-the statement that there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics" springs readily to mind. The fact that there is satisfaction with the program is skewed somewhat by the fact that the vast majority of this age group in the past had no prescription drug coverage at all, so I would surmise the statement is true.

Part of the issue with drug price negotiation-besides the idea that negotiations representing 40 million people could probably generate lower prices than could those involving, say, two million people-is that the savings/ rebates could self-perpetuate the program, thus lessening the burden on the taxpayer, and improve the benefit (eliminate the donut hole?). Several of the plans have actually increased their premiums even while continuing to receive premium subsidies from Medicare. Newer drugs are available under some of the plans and, in fact, you may have to replace the "newer" drug that you are currently stabilized on for another "newer" drug that the insurance has just received a deal on (this is not quite as simple as it would appear). There was failure to mention that a very large reason the program is under budget is that simply not all those who were eligible (millions of individuals) enrolled in the plans and that the budgeted monies simply were not used.

It is also interesting that the program is "fine as is," when there has been legislation introduced in Congress to address excessive corporate salaries, and many of the companies that have reaped the benefit of the Medicare Part D program are among the guilty. …

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