Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Tuesday Tidbits

CVS Health is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its decision to remove tobacco products from its pharmacies. The FEHBlog frankly is surprised that other pharmacy chains have not followed this lead.

Fierce Healthcare discusses how prescription benefit manager CVS Caremark is carving drugs with "hyper inflated" prices out of its formularies.
The pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) launched its program for “hyperinflation” drug removals in 2017 in which it will take drugs off its template formulary if they have far cheaper equivalents and their high prices aren’t backed by quality metrics. So far, they've identified five drugs to remove as the default option for docs.
The Government Accountability Office reports on the importance of educating consumers about the proper disposal of opioid prescriptions.
Available studies suggest that many patients are unaware of federally recommended disposal methods or choose not to dispose of unused prescription opioids. For example, five studies found that between one-quarter and three-quarters of patients stored unused opioids for future use or had misplaced their unused opioids. Further, federal data indicate that 85 percent of intentional misuse occurs with the patient's knowledge—for example, when a patient sells or gives away unused prescription opioids. To educate and motivate patients to dispose of unused opioids, FDA launched a public awareness campaign called “Remove the Risk” in April 2019. Also, FDA and other stakeholders have created educational materials for patients and providers on safe opioid disposalFina.
Finally, Healthcare Dive informs us that

  • Nonprofit hospitals' operating margins are improving after falling for the last two years, according to an annual report on hospital performance from Fitch Ratings.
  • Smaller hospitals are driving the turnaround and it's a notable trend because they're not able to command higher rates from payers like their peers the "must-have" hospitals, according to the report. 
  • "The fact that [smaller hospitals] saw meaningful improvement is a good indicator that operational strength is returning to the sector, though the highs we saw in 2015 may be an unattainable highwater mark," Kevin Holloran, senior director for Fitch, said in a statement. 

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