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Letter from the Editor #519

May 2, 2010

Recently I have had more than one patient on a Medicare Part D Plan come for a refill and hand me a copay discount card they received from their clinician’s office and say they have used before. I explained to them that this cannot be used as it says clearly that it is not allowed for Medicare patients and using it is committing Medicare fraud.

With the current attitude at CMS, all of us would do well to remember this. According to information from my legal sources if you are a pharmacist who decides to accept the card for copay lowering you can be banned from filling Medicare and Medicaid prescriptions, and in addition your pharmacy can also be banned. A little more digging has found that CMS is considering holding the prescriber responsible if they or their office staff knowingly give a Medicare Part D recipient a copay discount card and it could be possible that they will actually start going after Medicare patients for fraud if they use them.


Not to be outdone by CMS, the FDA may turn next to misdemeanor prosecutions of pharmaceutical company executives for off-label promotion of their products — based on new agency standards currently being fine-tuned. Last week at the 2010 Food and Drug Law Institute Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., Eric Blumberg, deputy chief for litigation in the Office of Chief Counsel, stated, “Off-label promotion is so rampant that very soon, some corporate executive is going to be first to be prosecuted.” He went on to tell the audience that corporate executives would be wise to monitor closely activities by marketing departments and sales representatives.


With our patients trying multiple alternative products for healthcare our current FAMU College of Pharmacy Intern, Ivory Gordon, has reviewed the use of essential oils for diabetes and has prepared an educational paper for you to review. Check out Essential Oils for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes.



Taking Control of Your Diabetes: New Orleans, Louisiana, Saturday, May 8
The TCOYD team will be in New Orleans at the Pontchartrain Center for a conference and health fair on Saturday, May 8. For more 2010 upcoming conference details, please go to TCOYD.org.

dLife.com: May 2, 7PM ET on CNBC
Topics:  Pop superstar Nick Jonas of The Jonas Brothers gets up close and personal about his diabetes life in an exclusive interview with dLife. Plus, Chef Michel Nischan has a low-carb twist on a breakfast classic — the pancake. And, your vision questions answered by Dr. David Marks. Sundays on CNBC at 7 PM ET, 6 PM CT, and 4 PM PT. Catch up on dLife.com.

Please answer this week’s Poll question:

Do you use a Point of Care Analyzer in your office for A1c testing while the patient is present or an outside laboratory and send the results after the patient leaves?



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Check out this week’s “Test Your Diabetes Knowledge” question!

Dave Joffe, Editor-in-chief