Tricare beneficiaries' out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs has remained stable despite copay increases over the past five years, and changes to the Defense Department's pharmacy program are likely to reduce drug costs by $1.3 billion from 2014 to 2019, according to Defense Health Agency Chief of Pharmacy Operations George Jones. Greater use of generic drugs, mail-service pharmacies for long-term prescriptions and expanded formularies at base pharmacies have reduced spending, Jones said.
Medications for chronic diseases will be filled through mail-service pharmacies for Tricare enrollees, saving the Department of Defense approximately $88 million and reducing beneficiaries' co-pays by approximately $16.5 million each year, according to the DOD.
Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula is one of two Mississippi companies to win a platinum-level Fit-Friendly Worksite award from the American Heart Association. Its wellness program includes an employee fitness center and healthy cafeteria food choices.
Brand-name drugmakers behind the narcotic painkillers Opana and OxyContin appear to be losing their bid to prevent the introduction of the drugs' cheaper generic versions. "We understand the value in developing appropriate abuse-resistant technology, and we want to find a way of incentivizing that," said Dr. Douglas Throckmorton of the FDA. "But we also understand the value of generics for patients."
Increases to Tricare prescription copayments will go into effect Feb. 1 under a plan agreed to by House and Senate conferees. They mostly accepted the House version of the plan, which included more modest fee hikes. Medications at military pharmacies will remain free, but fees for prescriptions for brand-name drugs filled at retail outlets and via mail will rise.