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Archive for the ‘Free Prescriptions’

Michigan Based Retail Pharmacy, Meijer, Offers Generic Cholesterol Reducing Prescription Drug, Lipitor, For Free

September 04, 2012 By: Nadia Category: Cholesterol, Free Prescriptions, HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: Drugstore News, 9.4.12 – By Alaric Dearment

In what could symbolize the so-called “patent cliff” that an executive from healthcare market research firm IMS Health spoke of at a recent trade show, a regional mass merchandise chain is taking what used to be the world’s top-selling drug and giving it away for free.

Meijer announced Tuesday that it would offer generic versions of Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) for free at all of its 199 pharmacies, saying it would be the first retailer in the Midwest to offer such a program. The program is the fourth free-drug program offered by the retailer over the last six years.

“We’re pleased to announce that our customers will now be able to fill their generic cholesterol-lowering atorvastatin calcium prescriptions for free in all of our pharmacies,” co-chairman Hank Meijer said. “In keeping with our commitment to provide low-cost solutions for the families we serve, the free cholesterol-lowering medication program is another way to help the customers who rely on our pharmacies.”

Before it lost patent protection, in November 2011, Lipitor had sales exceeding $7 billion per year in the United States. Ranbaxy Labs was the first to launch a generic version when the drug’s patents expired, and Ranbaxy’s own market-exclusivity period expired in May of this year. At the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference last month, IMS VP industry relations Doug Long said during a presentation that “We’re in the teeth of the patent cliff,” which refers to a period taking place over the next few years when a wave of expirations of several top-selling drugs’ patents will occur, eventually leaving many therapeutic indications such as cholesterol heavily commoditized and dominated by multiple generics.

“This initiative will have a huge impact because the cost of pharmaceuticals is frequently a barrier to getting appropriate treatment,” West Michigan Heart cardiologist and Spectrum Health Meijer Heart Center Cardiac Catheterization Labs director David Wohns said. “The biggest way to reduce the risk of heart disease comes from treating cholesterol. To have that drug available for free has the ability to impact countless lives.”

Meijer’s Free Pre-Natal Vitamin Program Fills Millionth Prescription

July 06, 2011 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: prnewswire.com – 6.29.2011

Delivering a healthy dose of good news to Midwest families, Meijer announced today that its free pre-natal vitamins prescription program has filled its 1,000,000th prescription, at a cost savings of nearly $14 million to Midwest families.

The announcement, made by Hank Meijer, Co-Chairman and CEO, came as the Midwest retailer reported that its pharmacies had hit the million-mark milestone earlier this week.

Meijer gave birth to the program in May 2008 when it announced it would fill select pre-natal vitamin prescriptions at no cost to customers. The no-strings-attached program enables any customer, regardless of insurance or co-pay, to have their pre-natal prescription filled free of charge.

“Meijer has always been a strong advocate for safe and healthy families, and we’re very proud to offer a program that works to ensure the health of an expectant mother and her child,” said Meijer. “In addition, offering free pre-natal vitamins helps Midwest families cope with rising health care costs, complementing the many other ways families can save money throughout our stores.”

It has been shown that pre-natal vitamins play an important role in healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. These supplements have typically been prescribed for women who have become pregnant, however, many members of the medical community believe they also play an important role for women in the months leading up to conception.

Prior to launching its free pre-natal vitamins initiative, Meijer successfully introduced a program in October 2006 offering to fill select antibiotics at no charge. That program, still in use, covers leading oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on the prescriptions most often filled for children.

The Michigan-based retailer followed up its free pre-natal program in 2010 with a similar program providing no-cost prescriptions for metformin, the most commonly prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes.

Since its inception, the Meijer free antibiotics program has filled more than seven million prescriptions, saving families almost $120 million. The free metformin program has helped nearly 500,000 people battle diabetes, at a cost savings of more than $4 million.

“In less than five years, our free antibiotics, pre-natal and diabetes prescription programs have saved our customers nearly $140 million,” said Meijer. “In total, we have helped hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Midwest receive free prescriptions to help them, and their families, lead healthier lives.”

The Meijer free pre-natal vitamins program features several well-known brands of pre-natal vitamins, including TriAdvance, Trinatal GT, Trinatal Ultra, Vol-Nate, Vol-Plus, and Vol-Tab.

Find a qualifying Meijer Pharmacy near you at www.medtipster.com!

Medtipster Sees Growth In Generic Drug Switches With Co-pay Waivers

December 14, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: Medtipster Client Data: August 1, 2009 – November 30, 2010

Medtipster.com, working with it’s employer sponsored benefit plan members, found that offering a waiver of generic drug co-payments led to more switches to generics from their brand equivalents and that plan members were more likely to remain on their generic drugs after the switch was made.

The waiver program resulted in savings of about $500,000. to the sponsor and about $750,000. to the plan members during the observation period.

To improve generic dispensing rates, Medtipster offered plan members using brand medications in 40 therapeutic classes up to two co-pay waivers if they switched to a preferred generic drug. Information about the waiver was mailed to plan members, alerting them that all they needed to do was switch within six months of receiving the communication.

Members who took advantage of the waivers early in the six-month period were able to use it twice, while members who acted later in the window were only able to use the waiver once.

The recently enacted health care reform law has a provision in it that will allow Medicare Part D plan sponsors, beginning with the 2011 plan year, to reduce or waive the first co-pay for a generic drug when a plan member switches from its corresponding brand product.

Medtipster examined how many of the plan members remained on the generic drug after receiving one or two co-pay waivers. Findings among the top four therapeutic classes (HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, antihypertensive combinations, proton pump inhibitors and beta blockers cardio-selective) showed that plan members who took advantage of two co-pay waivers had higher generic dispensing rates in the fill immediately after the waivers and had higher sustained GDRs during the months after the generic dispensing conversion program began compared to those only using one waiver.

For example, 94.9 percent of members using beta blockers filled the next prescription with a generic following the use of two waivers, compared to 59.5 percent who used only one waiver. Members who used two waivers had a sustained generic dispensation rate of 89.5 percent, compared to 58.5 percent who only used one waiver.

The drug that showed the highest difference in sustained GDR between the use of two waivers and one waiver was AstraZeneca’s high blood pressure medication Toprol XL (metaprolol succinate), which had sustained GDR of 91.5 percent for members using two waivers, compared to 62.5 percent for members who used only one waiver.

Of the top 10, the drug that had the lowest difference was AstraZeneca’s cholesterol lowering drug Crestor (rosuvastatin), which had a sustained GDR of 82.7 percent for members using two waivers versus 78.1 percent for members who used one waiver.

Local pharmacies leery of Caterpillar Rx policy

July 09, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News

www.Medtipster.com Source: Winston-Salem Journal, 7.9.2010

A group of independent local pharmacies supports Caterpillar Inc. opening a plant in Winston-Salem, but not if it costs them customers.

That’s why they are appealing to city and county officials to make equal prescription-drug access to potential Caterpillar employees a part of any incentive package with the company.

The pharmacies are concerned about a preferred prescription-drug agreement that Caterpillar has with Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

The agreement, which runs through 2011, provides for lower or no co-pays for Caterpillar employees who fill their prescriptions with Walgreens and Wal-Mart. Employees pay more if they fill their prescriptions through an online or mail-order pharmacy, other chains or independent pharmacies.

“With Caterpillar’s policy, if one of our customers gets hired by Caterpillar, we could lose them,” said Dave Marley, the president and chief executive of Marley Drug in Winston-Salem.

“This, combined with the fact that our own tax dollars were used to entice Caterpillar, and it becomes wholly unacceptable.”

Caterpillar has named Winston-Salem as one of three finalists, along with Montgomery, Ala., and Spartanburg, S.C., for a proposed $426 million manufacturing plant with 510 company and contract employees.

Last week, Winston-Salem and Forsyth County offered Caterpillar a combined $23.4 million in incentives. Caterpillar plans to make a decision in August.

Marley said that the pharmacies are “willing to accept the exact same reimbursement terms given by Walgreens and Wal-Mart.”

“We feel there is no way this would be negotiated after the fact, so if there is going to be a change in Caterpillar’s policy, it has to be raised now and discussed now,” Marley said.

Also making the request are Andrews Pharmacy, East Winston Pharmacy, Gateway Pharmacy, Jonestown Pharmacy, Lewisville Drug, Medicap Pharmacy on Liberty Street and Medicap Pharmacy on Reynolda Road.

Mayor Allen Joines said the city “will bring this concern to the company’s attention if we are lucky enough to be negotiating a contract.”

At cathealthbenefits.cat.com, Caterpillar said the “direct contracts with Wal-Mart and Walgreens use a transparent cost-plus pricing methodology that is intended to eliminate unnecessary and hidden costs in the prescription-drug supply chain.”

Caterpillar did amend its policy to allow independent pharmacies to participate at the Walgreens and Wal-Mart tier in rural areas that don’t have easy access to those stores.

A small percentage of employers have adopted similar policies regarding prescription drugs, said Steve Graybill, a senior consultant for Mercer, a human-resources consulting company.

David Howard, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., said that in 2009, the manufacturer opened up its health-care plan to give employees access to more than 59,000 pharmacies, including national chains and many local pharmacies. Before that, Reynolds provided most medical care for its employees through company-sponsored clinics such as Winston-Salem Health Care.

The bulk of local Reynolds employees have still chosen to use Winston-Salem Health Care and its pharmacy for years, Howard said. “Employees have the option to go outside of network for health care and prescriptions, but they will have higher out-of-pocket costs,” Howard said.

Media General Inc., the parent company of the Winston-Salem Journal, has a contract with Medco, a mail-order pharmacy that provides discounts for employees, but employees can fill prescriptions elsewhere, as well.

ShopRite Offering Free Diabetes Medications

June 09, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: www.progressivegrocer.com – 5.8.2010

This past weekend, ShopRite began providing free diabetes medications and education to customers – with or without insurance at store pharmacies across Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware.

“ShopRite has always had a commitment to consumer education, helping our customers understand their food choices, so they can eat right and stay healthy,” said Karen Meleta, spokeswoman at Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp., the retail co-op whose 46 members operates stores under the ShopRite banner. “Our pharmacies offer information on medical conditions, and our dietitians are an invaluable service — providing food and nutrition counseling. These are just a few of the unique services that make ShopRite the go-to place for our customers.”

To take part in the program, customers must have a valid prescription from their doctor. There’s no membership or other commitment required. Seven drugs, in varying strengths, will be offered in the program, and the free medications will be available in 30-day supplies, based on common dosing.

Additionally, ShopRite Pharmacies are educating customers about living with diabetes, including tips on healthy meal planning. Select ShopRite stores with on-site dietitians can provide one-on-one consultations offering advice on how to shop the store to find the best options for a diabetic diet and prepare meals for people with diabetes.

Shoppers can also find information about living with diabetes in the “Health and Wellness” section of ShopRite.com or by sending a question to ShopRite’s corporate dietitian, Natalie Menza, through the “Ask the Dietitian” feature on ShopRite.com.

As well as the free diabetes medications, ShopRite has expanded its already existing 90-day generic drug program by offering a 30-day supply of generic medications for $3.99. The $9.99 (90-day) generic drug program provides customers further savings on more than 375 commonly prescribed generic drugs used to treat a range of medical conditions, including allergies and asthma, arthritis pain, and elevated cholesterol.

“At ShopRite, our goal is to provide the best service and every day low prices,” added Meleta. “When you combine our new free diabetes medication program … with our 30-day/$3.99 and 90-day/$9.99 generic drug programs, we provide our customers with a comprehensive solution for meeting their prescription needs.”

ShopRite is the registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., whose members operate over 200 ShopRite supermarkets throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland.

Find a ShopRite Pharmacy nearest you on Medtipster.com

Price Chopper pharmacies are giving away diabetes drugs

May 21, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com source: www.timesunion.com – Cathleen F. Crowley, 5.19.2010

First, pharmacies slashed the cost of generic drugs. Then grocery stores such as Stop & Shop and Wegmans shot back with free antibiotics. Now Price Chopper is offering free drugs to people living with diabetes.
Competition for customers is fierce in the world of retail pharmacy, which is up against mail-order powerhouses.Price Chopper is the first grocery store pharmacy to provide free diabetic medications in the Northeast, according to Golub Corp., Price Chopper’s owner. Florida-based Publix Super Markets has a similar program.

“It’s a pretty business-savvy move,” said Craig Burridge, executive director of Pharmacists Society of the State of New York. “When you are dealing with a disease state that has other products that are not drug-related, you can make some money off of it.”

Price Chopper launched the program this week. Mona Golub, vice president of public relations and consumer services for the Schenectady-based supermarket chain, said it will build customer loyalty and address a major health problem in the community.

“From a business standpoint, Price Chopper’s interest is in establishing and solidifying a stronger relationship with our customers and becoming more of a comprehensive resource to consumers,” Golub said. “From a health perspective, the new Diabetes AdvantEdge program offers a comprehensive menu of resources and tools to those who are managing diabetes.”

Price Chopper, which has 70 pharmacies in six states, has already tailored programs for people with celiac disease by stocking more gluten-free products and providing gluten-free cooking classes. Golub said the store will continue to target niche groups.

For its diabetes program, Price Chopper will provide metformin, glipizide and glyburide free of charge to customers who have a doctor’s prescription for the drugs. The oral pills are generic drugs for controlling Type 1 and 2 diabetes, and are among the most commonly prescribed medications to diabetes patients. They are also relatively inexpensive.

Burridge said customers who use the program are likely to move all of their prescriptions to the grocery store’s pharmacy and buy accessories, such as blood testing supplies for controlling the disease, there also.

Consumers should review the cost of filling all their scripts before making a decision, said Burridge, who says consumers use one pharmacy for all their prescriptions.

“You don’t buy a car because you get free floor mats,” he said.

Price Chopper also will offer free one-on-one consultations with pharmacists and nutrition education for diabetic patients. Unlike a standalone pharmacy, the supermarket pharmacy has the advantage of offering a full range of products that diabetic patients need: sugar substitutes and low-calorie foods in addition to the blood testing supplies.

Golub said, “We will continue to look to connect meaningfully with groups of consumers that have unique needs that we can serve.”

Find a Price Chopper Pharmacy near you on www.medtipster.com.

Stater Bros. Announces Free Prenatal Vitamin Offering For Expectant Mothers (May Only)

May 04, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: DrugStoreNews.com, 5.4.2010 – Allison Cerra

A Southern California supermarket chain is offering free prenatal vitamins to expectant mothers this month.

In line with Pregnancy Awareness Month, Stater Bros.’ said its Super Rx Pharmacy will offer prenatal vitamins to those with a doctor’s prescription. Quantities must be written for a thirty-day supply and not to exceed 30 tablets. The free prenatal vitamin program will feature the generic version of these well-known brands:

  • Advanced Natal Care
  • Natal Care Glosstabs
  • Nata Tab Rx
  • Natal Care Plus
  • Prenavite
  • Ultra Natal Care

This initiative is one of several Stater Bros. has offered its customers. The supermarket chain also offers a free antibiotic program and $4 generic prescription drug program.

“Stater Bros. remains committed to the health and well-being of our valued customers,” stated Jack Brown, Stater Bros. chairman and CEO.  “As the only supermarket chain in Southern California to offer this program free of charge, Stater Bros. is proud to promote the health of mothers-to-be while easing some of the economic burden that many of our valued customers are facing.”

Vist www.Medtipster.com to locate the Stater Bros. Pharmacy nearest you offering free prenatal vitamins.

Meijer To Offer Diabetes Drug At No Cost

April 13, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Meijer Pharmacies To Dispense Metformin Immediate Release At No Cost To Prescription Holders

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Added To The Meijer Free Antibiotics And Free Pre-Natal Vitamins Programs

Meijer announced plans to begin offering Metformin Immediate Release, the most commonly prescribed treatment for type 2 diabetes, at no cost to those with a medical prescription. Meijer’s program will include doses prescribed in 500mg, 850mg and 1000mg tablets.

According to American Diabetes Association estimates for 2007, more than 24 million Americans have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for 90-95 percent of all cases.  

Diabetes is a disease that has no cure. Currently, more than 80 million American children and adults have some form of diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in three children born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime. The numbers are even worse for minorities.

Metformin Immediate Release is now believed to be the most widely prescribed anti-diabetic drug in the world. In 2008, more than 80 million prescriptions for Metformin were filled in the United States alone.

Meijer’s addition of Metformin Immediate Release to its free medication program comes just weeks after Florida-based grocer Publix led the industry by announcing it would provide free Metformin prescriptions in its pharmacy.

Find a Meijer Pharmacy carrying free Metformin at: www.medtipster.com

Publix offering free generic diabetes medicine

March 16, 2010 By: Nadia Category: Free Prescriptions, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Publix Super Markets Inc., which offers eight types of generic prescription antibiotics for free, on Monday extended the offer to one of the most popular drug treatments for Type II diabetes.

Publix pharmacies now offer for free three prescription strengths of metformin, a generic form of Glucophage. Until now, Publix charged $21 a month for the maintenance drug. It’s part of broader effort the grocer unveiled to help diabetics monitor and manage their lives with online educational resources, recipes, cooking classes and a monthly e-newsletter.

“We expect to build on this diabetic management system,” Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten said.

Use Medtipster.com to find a Publix Pharmacy closest to you home.

CVS Caremark Research Illustrates How Innovative Pharmacy Benefit Plan Design Optimizes Generic Utilization

March 11, 2010 By: Jason A. Klein Category: Free Prescriptions, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Medtipster Source: CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), 10/13/2009, http://info.cvscaremark.com/newsroom

This is an old release from November 2009, BUT I really liked it and have been meaning to post it for some time now.  The message of the CVS Caremark release and the study is: We as an industry need to advise benefit payors to focus on changing consumer utilization behavior rather than  shifting cost. This study took 15,000 people, gave them a $0.00 copay on generic medications. What happened? Overall plan costs decreased due to a GDR (generic dispensing rate) increase and therapy compliance/adherence increased in key classes (antihyperlipidemics, antihypertensives, antidiabetics). WOW…who would have thought that by giving away the cow, you could pay for the milk…

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ — CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) presented data at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Annual Educational Conference, which illustrates how innovative pharmacy benefit plan design can impact generic utilization. The study further underscores how pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) can work with plan sponsors to manage costs and improve health outcomes by working to change plan participant behavior through increased engagement. The study found that implementing a $0 copay structure for generic medications can be an effective strategy to increase generic dispensing, with the generic dispensing rate (GDR) increasing to 60.8 percent (a 4.2 percent increase) during the study period.

“Our 2009 Benefit Planning Survey found that clients are more interested in identifying opportunities to change plan participant behavior, rather than shift costs,” said Jack Bruner, Executive Vice President, CVS Caremark. “The data presented at AMCP illustrates an example of how we can work with our plan sponsors to change and optimize participant behavior in order to achieve increased generic utilization. These types of partnerships enable us to effectively reduce costs for both our client and their plan participants without compromising quality or access.”

In addition to an improvement in GDR during the study period, the analysis found that the average participant cost share for generic medications decreased almost 10 percent (9.4 percent decrease). In addition, the average plan cost per 30 days of therapy also exhibited a slight decline, despite the reduction in generic copayment rates. Prevalence of use in three key preventative drug classes also increased significantly (participants on cholesterol lowering therapy increased 13 percent, on antihypertensive therapy increased seven percent and on diabetic therapy increased nine percent) as a proportion of eligible patients.

“While some plan designs work to drive generic utilization by increasing brand medication copayments, this study demonstrates that lowering the generic copayment can also be an effective strategy to increase GDR,” said Mr. Bruner. “In addition, the data indicates that lowering the generic copayment may also be associated with an increase in participants taking key preventative drugs, which could positively impact adherence and overall health outcomes.”

The study was designed to evaluate the results of plan design changes, including implementation of a $0 copay for generic medications, on the GDR, plan participant cost and impact of plan participant behavior changes on health outcomes. During the study period, participants were allowed to fill prescriptions for generic medications at a preferred retail pharmacy network at a zero dollar copay. The study included 15,000 plan participants covered by a self-funded employer group who were continuously enrolled under the benefit for the duration of the study period (12/1/2007 through 7/31/2009). 

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