Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.

May 3: The Value of OTCs to Healthcare, The Rising Cost of Specialty Drugs, and More

Posted on in Industry Updates by Amplicare Team

Here’s the latest in the world of pharmacy and healthcare:

1. CMS is looking to partner with states to test innovative care models for dual eligible beneficiaries. A letter to state Medicaid directors noted that the agency is hoping these new models improve health outcomes for the 12 million individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. CMS and states spend more than $300 billion on care for dually eligibles each year, but don’t always achieve acceptable health outcomes.
Read more from

2. Specialty drug spending in Medicare Part D grew considerably in 2015, says a new Congressional Budget Office report. Per the report, net spending on specialty drugs to treat chronic, complex, and rare conditions rose from $8.7 billion in 2010 to $32.8 billion in 2015. That spend doubled from $4.8 billion to $9.9 billion in Medicaid over the same time period. To put it in perspective, although brand-name specialty drugs accounted for only 1% of all prescriptions dispensed in Part D and Medicaid in 2015, they accounted for 30% of net spend on prescription drugs that year.
Read more from Policy & Medicine.

3. What is the value of an OTC purchase on the healthcare system? About $146 billion in savings, according to data from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and IRI. The study, which analyzed survey results from over 5,000 consumers, found that the savings stem from drug costs ($52 billion) and avoiding unnecessary clinical visits ($95 billion).
Read more from Drug Store News.

4. Vaccinated against measles? You may need to consider getting a booster. As the disease outbreak continues across the U.S., public health experts suggest that some vaccinated adults may need to receive a new dose, depending on when they got the vaccine and their level of exposure. CDC data shows that up to 10% of the 695 confirmed current measles cases have occurred in people who received one or two doses of the vaccine.
Read more from Reuters.

5. Amazon is ramping up promotions of virtual pharmacy PillPack, which it acquired last year for close to $1 billion. Amazon Prime members reportedly received emails linking to a landing page that promoted prescription refill management, monthly home delivery services, and free shipping. This is the latest in Amazon’s health-related efforts, which has included HIPAA compliance for its voice-based Alexa.
Read more from Mobi Health News.

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