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Association News

Take Action: House Committee to Hear Payment Parity and PBM Bills on Tuesday

Texas CapitolThe Texas House Committee on Insurance is scheduled to take up HB 3441, sponsored by Committee Chair Eddie Lucio III, on Tuesday morning, March 26. The bill would increase patients’ access to pharmacists’ care by requiring reimbursement for pharmacist-provided services that are within a pharmacist’s scope of practice. The committee is also expected to hear a number of bills related to regulation of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). If you’re in Austin, come to the Capitol on Tuesday and register your support of the following bills:

  • HB 1757: Relating to the authority of an insured to select a pharmacist under the insured's health insurance policy.
  • HB 2817: Relating to the contractual relationship between a pharmacist or pharmacy and a health benefit plan issuer or pharmacy benefit manager.
  • HB 1455: Relating to the audit of wholesale invoices during certain audits of pharmacists and pharmacies.
  • HB 1905: Relating to the relationship between physicians or health care providers and health maintenance organizations or preferred provider benefit plans.
  • HB 2231: Relating to the practices and operation of pharmacy benefit managers; providing administrative penalties (not scheduled for March 26, but expected to be heard in committee soon).

If you can’t make it to Austin, fill out this petition and TPA will submit it to Chairman Lucio and the other Insurance Committee members.


Legislative Hearings Address Pharmacy Legislation

House Public Health Committee Meeting
The House Committee on Public Health hears testimony concerning mandatory e-prescribing of controlled substances.

Things at the State Capitol are moving at an incredibly fast pace,as expected at this time during the legislative session. This week, the House Public Health Committee heard 33 bills, including several opioid-related bills. TPA registered its support for HB 577, clarifying that pharmacists are not required to check the PMP for refills; HB 1668, to clean up the Pharmacy Practice Act as recommended by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy; HB 2174, mandating electronic prescribing of all controlled substances; and HB 2425, which gives Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) more flexibility in collaborative practice.

Follow pharmacy-related bills TPA is tracking using our online bill tracker (updated weekly).


Pharmacy Meets with Vendor Drug Program Regarding Proposed Legislation

Texas HHS logoThe Texas Pharmacy Association participated in a stakeholders' meeting Thursday with the Texas Medicaid Vendor Drug Program (VDP) Deputy Director Gina Marie Muñiz and staff to discuss several bills before the legislature. Included are bills that would carve-out pharmacy benefits from the MCO model and return them to a fee-for-service model. The VDP was receptive to suggestions the state could save money and improve healthcare by changing the pharmacy reimbursement model.


Download TPA’s Updated 2019 Advocacy ToolkitDownload TPA's 2019 Advocacy Toolkit

It’s never too late to advocate! The state legislative session continues through May, and your participation is powerful. Not sure where to begin? TPA’s Advocacy Toolkit contains issue briefs describing our priority legislative issues, a fact sheet about TPA and the pharmacy profession in Texas, and advocacy tips for communicating and meeting with legislators. TPA members may access the toolkit online. It’s a must-read for anyone planning to interact with elected officials or their staffs either at the Capitol or in their local district offices.


2019 Board of Directors Nominations Due April 1

TPA logoAre you or is someone you know ready to step into a leadership role to advance the profession of pharmacy and influence TPA’s strategic direction? If so, consider service on the TPA Board of Directors! TPA has five Board positions open in 2019:

  • President-Elect (one-year term, followed by one-year term as President)
  • Treasurer-Elect (one-year term, followed by one-year term as Treasurer)
  • 2 Pharmacist Directors (three-year terms)
  • Speaker-Elect of the House of Delegates (one-year term, followed by one-year term as Speaker).

To nominate someone (yes, you may nominate yourself), simply complete the nomination form online. Nominations must be submitted no later than April 1, 2019. For more information, read the selection guidelines and expectations of Board members.


Recognize a Deserving Member: 2019 TPA Award Nominations Now Open

2018 TPA Award Winners
2018 TPA award winners

The TPA Association Affairs Council is seeking nominations for several prestigious Association awards to be presented during the 2019 TPA Conference & Expo (August 2–4 in Irving). All nominees must be in good standing with the Texas Pharmacy Association and have made contributions to the profession that align with TPA's mission to enhance and evolve the role of pharmacy in delivering health care solutions and improve patient outcomes. Award categories include:

  • Bowl of Hygeia
  • Pharmacist of the Year
  • Distinguished Young Pharmacist
  • Distinguished Student Pharmacist
  • Distinguished Pharmacy Technician
  • Distinguished Service
  • Excellence in Innovation
  • Robert L. Hays Outstanding Consultant Pharmacist
  • Excellence in Patient Outcomes

Review the list of awards requirements and submit the online nomination form no later than April 15, 2019. View a list of 2018 award winners and past honorees online.


Open Call for Education Programs/Presentations

TPA RxCE Center for Excellence

As the Texas Pharmacy Association prepares its educational sessions for this year’s Conference & Expo and other events, we are looking for dynamic speakers to challenge our thinking and push the profession forward with insightful presentations. Your expertise can help your colleagues stay on top of the latest advancements in pharmacy and patient care. Subjects include: Services in Community Pharmacy, Clinical Pharmacy, Compounding, Autoimmune Disease, Respiratory, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, HIV, Mental Health, Pharmacy Management, Stress, Patient Counseling, Expanded Technician Roles, Technology Updates, and Value-Based Care. Do you have a program to present? Submit your proposal online by April 15!


In the State

Revised Texas Medicaid Standing Order for Mosquito Repellent Benefit

The Texas Medicaid Standing Order for Mosquito Repellent has been revised and is available for use with the mosquito repellent benefit for people enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. Pharmacy staff must obtain a copy of the revised standing order, effective May 1, because of the change in prescribing authority of the standing order. The previous standing order expires Apr. 30. Pharmacies may request a copy of the standing order by emailing vdp-formulary@hhsc.state.tx.us. To learn more visit the mosquito repellent benefit website.

Texas Vendor Drug Program (March 19, 2019)


Members Sought for State Preventive Health Advisory Committee

If you are interested in the state plan for the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, you may want to apply to be a member of the State Preventive Health Advisory Committee. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission executive commissioner will appoint members to the committee to serve the remainder of terms expiring Dec. 31, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2024. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m., April 10.

Texas Health and Human Services (March 18, 2019) Phillips, Courtney


Will Physicians Soon Be Allowed to Dispense Drugs in Texas?

Texas is just one of four states nationwide where physicians are not able to dispense medicine onsite, but a number of organizations are hoping to change that during 2019’s legislative session. A statewide coalition of employers and healthcare providers is working to change the law and give patients the option of filling certain common prescriptions right at their doctor’s office rather than their local pharmacy. TPA opposes the legislation, noting among other things that the practice puts patients’ health and safety at risk.

D CEO Healthcare (March 19, 2019) Maddox, Will


Two Texas Cities Remain on Walgreens Flu Index

Just two metro areas appear among the top 10 on the latest Walgreens Flu Index, a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity. For the week ending March 16, 2019, El Paso ranked No. 2 and Corpus Christi came in at No. 9. Overall, Texas ranked seventh among states with the most flu.

Walgreens (March 20, 2019)


National News


Senate Panel to Hear from Pharmacy Middlemen on Drug Prices

The Senate Finance Committee said Thursday that it has secured commitments from executives of five major pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to testify next month about the high costs of prescription drugs. Executives from Cigna, CVS, Humana, OptumRx and Prime Therapeutics have agreed to appear on April 9.

The Hill (March 21, 2019) Weixel, Nathaniel


NCPA Publishes 2019 Pharmacy Legislative, Regulatory Checklist

NCPA has provided a checklist to help community pharmacists understand the various federal legislative and regulatory changes that have occurred over the past year. The checklist outlines important dates that community pharmacists should be aware of for 2019.

National Community Pharmacists Association (March 15, 2019)


FDA Fast-Tracks OxyContin Manufacturer's Overdose Drug

The US Food and Drug Administration granted Purdue Pharma's experimental opioid overdose drug fast-track designation. According to Purdue, its drug, nalmefene hydrochloride injection, has a longer effect than naloxone, another opioid antagonist that is approved to reverse overdoses.

CNN (March 14, 2019) Kounang, Nadia


CMS Updates Drug Dashboards with Prescription Drug Pricing and Spending Data

CMS has updated its Drug Spending Dashboards with data for 2017. The dashboards, first released in May 2018, add information on the manufacturers responsible for price hikes and include pricing and spending data for thousands of drugs across Medicare Parts B and D and Medicaid. Researchers and consumers may sort data to identify trends.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (March 14, 2019)


FDA Won't Require 4-Letter Suffixes for Older Biologics' Proper Names

The FDA has scrapped four-letter suffixes for biological products that are already approved or licensed. The agency had proposed adding a unique four-letter suffix to the proper names, but drugmakers expressed it could lead to confusion for patients.

FDA News (March 14, 2019)


Health Policy Experts Warn Rebate Rule Would Hurt Patients

Health policy experts and even HHS' own actuarial analysts say proposed requirements for how pharmacy benefit managers handle rebates are likely to raise costs for beneficiaries, and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association warned that the proposal would give manufacturers even more negotiating power if enacted.

Politico (March 18, 2018) Owermohle, Sarah


FDA Approves First Treatment for Postpartum Depression

The first drug for women suffering postpartum depression received federal approval on Tuesday, a move likely to pave the way for a wave of treatments to address the debilitating condition. The drug works very quickly, within 48 hours — a significant improvement over currently available antidepressants, which can take two to four weeks to have an effect.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (March 19, 2019) Walsh, Sandy


What Pharmacists Need to Know about EPA's Final Rule on Hazardous Waste Disposal

The EPA's final rule regarding management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals goes into effect Aug. 21. It requires health care facilities (including pharmacies) to determine what are hazardous or non-hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and whether this waste is potentially creditable or non-creditable at their pharmacy prior to sending the pharmaceutical to a reverse distributor. NCPA outlined portions of the rule important to community pharmacies.

National Community Pharmacists Association (March 15, 2019)


Pharmacy Groups Support Standards for Technical Education

National pharmacy organization members of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners have indicated support for "the adoption of national standards to ensure that pharmacy technician education consistently achieves quality outcomes," saying accrediting bodies "should allow for innovation and flexibility in program delivery."

Chain Drug Review (March 19, 2019)


Experts: Medicines For Opioid Addiction Vastly Underused

Medicines proven to treat opioid addiction remain vastly underused in the U.S., the nation's top medical advisers said Wednesday. The influential National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which advises the federal government, called for increased prescribing of the drugs and other changes to reduce barriers to their use.

Associated Press (March 20, 2019) Perrone, Matthew


Trending News

Drugmakers Keep Prices High while PBMs Shift Business Model

Pharmacy benefit managers are passing along a growing proportion of rebates to clients and relying more on spread pricing and other fees for revenue, but drugmakers are not reducing list prices.

Axios (March 15, 2019) Baker, Sam


A Piece of the Pie: Independents Build New Business Models

Independent operators have found ways to survive and even thrive, often with revenue models that stretch beyond the dwindling margins they can recoup for dispensing prescriptions. They are leveraging strong community ties and service, expanding product assortments, and seeking to gain compensation for the value they add to patient care.

Drug Store News (March 20, 2019) Hamstra, Mark


Kiosks Combine Telemedicine, Diagnosis, Minipharmacy

OnMed has developed a telemedicine kiosk where patients can consult with a physician, get a diagnosis and receive some prescription medications through a robotic minipharmacy that can dispense medications. OnMed estimates that visits will take fewer than 15 minutes and cost less than walking into a clinic or emergency room.

FierceBiotech (March 12, 2019) Hale, Conor


Lower-Extremity Amputations in Diabetes Are Back on the Rise, but Why?

Between 1990 and 2010, when attention to tightening glycemic control and foot care grew, rates of lower-extremity amputations in patients with diabetes declined precipitously throughout the world. A new population-based study, however, reported a reversal of the declining trend such that by 2015 the reduction in rates was effectively eliminated.

Medscape (March 14, 2019) Nichols, Gregory


Washington Must Change the System that Encourages High Drug Prices

“Take away our rebates? We’ll just up premiums.” This is the threat from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and insurers if rebates are passed back to seniors in Medicare. For years, PBMs have disguised the billions of dollars in rebates and fees they pocket from manufacturers by describing them as “savings” to the health care system.

The Hill (March 18, 2019) Feldman, Madelaine


New Guidelines Advise Against Aspirin to Prevent Heart Disease

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association said low-dose aspirin should not be given on a routine basis to prevent heart attacks and other heart disease in people aged 70 years and older, or adults of any age who are at increased risk of bleeding. The guidelines apply to those who have not been diagnosed with heart disease.

Wall Street Journal (March 18, 2019) Loftus, Peter


Older Americans Awash in Antibiotics

Older adults take too many antibiotics, despite efforts by CDC and other groups to reduce the rates. A study found that physicians wrote enough antibiotic prescriptions each year for every individual aged 65 years and older to receive at least one. The study may underestimate the issue, as researchers used a database that followed only outpatients.

New York Times (March 15, 2019) Span, Paula


No Influenza Vaccine Preference for 2019–20 Season

For the 2019–20 influenza season, the American Academy of Pediatrics says it will no longer indicate a preference for the injection versus the nasal spray form of the vaccine for children. The recommendation comes after AAP evaluated current data on vaccination coverage and effectiveness and influenza season characteristics.

American Academy of Pediatrics (March 19, 2019) Jenco, Melissa


Seniors Benefit from Strong Relationships with Pharmacists

Pharmacist Jill Drury is a strong proponent of medication therapy management sessions, particularly with seniors. Brown bag consults can develop good pharmacist-patient relationships, give insight into patients' lifestyles and care quality, and identify how well patients understand their condition and medications, she writes.

Pharmacy Times (March 18, 2019) Drury, Jill


Americans Skip Meds, Ask for Alternatives to Save Money

Six in 10 US adults received a prescription for medication in the past year, according to 2017 survey data, and one-fifth of them said they asked for a cheaper drug. More than 11% said they skipped doses, took less of the medication than prescribed or waited to have a prescription filled to save money, putting them at risk of health consequences.

Stat (March 19, 2019) Thielking, Megan


Using Quality Measures to Address Medication Adherence, Access

According to a new report from the Pharmacy Quality Alliance, a clinical quality framework could help health care leaders develop strategies to improve medication access for patients. It says that improving access, which affects adherence and patient outcomes, requires a focus on the social determinants of health.

Patient EngagementHIT (March 18, 2019) Heath, Sara


Can Compounding Bring Down Drug Prices? A Court May Decide

A compounded version of vasopressin has sparked allegations of trade secrets theft and inspired at least three lawsuits against its manufacturer and FDA. Compounded drugs and FDA's regulations surrounding them are raising the question of whether compounding is acceptable if the main reason is to offer the medicine at a lower cost.

Stat (March 15, 2019) Florko, Nicholas


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Texas Pharmacy Today
Editor: Brian Sparks, Division Director, Communications and Marketing
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Texas Pharmacy Association

Debbie Garza, R.Ph., Chief Executive Officer • (512) 615-9170

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