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MEDICARE RxPRC ADVISORY PANEL WILL BE CHOSEN BY NOVEMBER, UNDER CURRENT OTA PLANS; PMA NOMINATES FORMER STERLING CEO WESCOE FOR 11-MEMBER COMMISSION

Executive Summary

The Prescription Drug Payment Review Commission (RxPRC), an advisory panel established under the Catastrophic Care Act to monitor the Medicare drug program, will be selected by November, according to the current plans of the Office of Technology Assessment. The deadline for submitting nominations for the Prescription Drug Payment Review Commission (RxPRC) was Sept. 2. OTA expects to begin a detailed analysis of candidates by late September. The congressional office plans to select two or three outside advisors to assist in the selection process. OTA, which serves as an analytical support agency for Congress, projects that it will announce the commission members in late October or early November. The commission will comprise 11 members with a staff of up to 25. Representatives from pharmacy, the medical community, and drug manufacturing will be considered as commission members. As of Aug. 31, about 60 monimations were submitted for RxPRC. In contrast, nearly 500 names were submitted for Medicare's Prospective Payment Assessment Commission and more than 100 were submitted for Medicare Physician Payment Review Commission. The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association nominated former Sterling Chairman W. Clark Wescoe, MD, for the commission. Wescoe was with Sterling for 16 years, 11 as chairman. He also served as chairman of PMA and president of the International Federation of PMAs. The American Pharmaceutical Association has nominated four candidates: Purdue's Pharmaceutical Economics Research Center Director Stephen Schondelmeyer, PhD; California pharmacist and former APhA Chairperson Mary Munson Runge, who served in 1974 on a pharmacy advisory panel for the Institute of Medicine; Oregon Pharmacy Services Administrative Organization Managing Director Robin Rechardson; and New Jersey pharmacist Calvin Knowlton, president of Infusion Care Systems. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores nominated Peoples Corporate VP-Pharmacy Leonard DeMino, Walgreen VP-Health Services William Thien, Jack Eckerd VP-Pharmacy Services Robert Myers, and Revco VP-Operations Robert Mandelbaum. The Medicare legislation, signed into law on July 1, establishes the RxPRC to monitor the drug benefit, to report to Congress annually on the budgetary status of the drug trust fund, and to recommend ways to maintain a surplus in the drug fund. The commission is required under the law to track increases in drug manufacturer prices, pharmacy charges, and utilization by beneficiaries. If expenses of the program exceed anticipated costs, the commission is mandated to suggest program adjustments. Those adjustments are supposed to address the specific reasons for the cost overruns.
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