New applications based on advances in telemedicine and mobile health technology are proliferating as pharmacy providers, physicians and health plans find new ways to connect with patients who are homebound or in remote locations. The result is to extend access to care, improve convenience and lower health delivery costs.
It’s a marriage of industry icons. In June, Walgreens finally made a long-awaited leap across the Atlantic to acquire British-based Alliance Boots, one of the world’s premier retailers of pharmaceuticals, health and beauty aids, and beauty care products.
When Walgreens and Express Scripts finally came to terms and agreed to again do business with each other in mid-2012, it marked the formal end of one of the costliest disputes in the history of pharmacy retailing and managed care.
For decades, community pharmacy has waged a tireless campaign to gain recognition as an equal partner on the nation’s healthcare delivery team, and support for the role pharmacists can play as front-line patient care advocates.
In 2011 and 2012, the steady surge of blockbuster pharmaceuticals falling off the patent cliff became a stampede. An astonishing number of big-selling drugs that had established and sustained branded drug makers’ profits for years fell victim to the expiration of their patent lives and market exclusivity, roiling the pharmaceutical marketplace and redefining the pricing model for many of the most widely prescribed classes of medicines.
With health reform and health cost imperatives driving the need to find alternative, community-based ways to deliver more cost-effective follow-up care, the retail clinic model could be poised for a new round of rapid growth.
With new payment models beginning to change the way hospitals and health providers are reimbursed for their services, health plan payers scrambling to control unsustainable medical costs and health information technology linking up the patient care silos, a more integrated and patient-centric care model is emerging out of the chaos of a health system in transformation.