PHARMACY

APhA releases REMS white paper

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The American Pharmacists Association has published its white paper on risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, the group said.

Published in the May/June 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, the “APhA 2011 REMS White Paper: Summary of the REMS stakeholder meeting on improving program design and implementation” focuses on designing a system that maximizes patient safety while minimizing burdens on the healthcare system. The paper was the product of a meeting the APhA sponsored in October that brought together 34 stakeholders representing organizations for pharmacists, pharmacies, physician assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners, drug makers and others, as well as observers from the Food and Drug Administration. The discussion focused on four themes: effective provider interventions, REMS standardization and communication models, using existing technology in the provider workspace for REMS implementation and ensuring a sustainable business model for REMS-related provider activities.

Recommendations included standardizing REMS programs, components and processes; utilizing effective provider interventions, such as personal consultations with patients; leveraging existing technology solutions in medical and pharmacy practice settings; establishing a central repository or clearinghouse for all REMS-related information; improving communication strategies and awareness of REMS programs and implementation requirements; and establishing compensation models to ensure providers have staff and resources to implement REMS programs.

The white paper is available at Pharmacist.com/REMS2011.

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Zipnosis brings services to Colorado, Washington

BY Allison Cerra

ST. PAUL, Minn — A provider of simple and convenient online diagnosis and treatment of common health needs is broadening its reach.

Zipnosis said it will launch services in Colorado and Washington on May 15. Patients interested in having their symptoms reviewed and diagnosed can register at Zipnosis.com.

How it works: Patients first spend a few minutes answering questions using the company’s adaptive online interview. The information then is converted into a fully digital note and securely sent to a board-certified and licensed clinician within their state. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the clinician responds in an hour with a diagnosis and treatment plan, including a prescription, if clinically appropriate. If a patient completes the online survey outside of normal hours, it will be reviewed as soon as the clinic opens in the morning.

Clinicians may diagnose such common health needs as colds, flu, sinus infections, cold/canker sores, seasonal allergies, acne and tobacco cessation, as well as female bladder infections and yeast infections. The service costs $25.

"We’re excited to offer Colorado and Washington state residents access to the most affordable and convenient health care in America," said Zipnosis CEO and co-founder Jon Pearce. "Our online diagnosis reduces access and payment barriers, while ensuring a safe, appropriate diagnosis in minutes."

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Alkermes to buy Elan Drug Technologies

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. — Alkermes will buy Irish drug maker Elan’s drug formulation and manufacturing business for $960 million, the two companies said Monday.

Alkermes will buy Elan Drug Technologies and incorporate the combined company in Ireland, naming it Alkermes PLC. Alkermes said the acquisition would give it an edge in treating central nervous system disorders and expected to have diverse revenue streams from 25 commercialized drugs.

“The merger will be financially transformative and create a profitable, global biopharmaceutical company with a diversified CNS product portfolio and a strong foundation for growth,” Alkermes CEO Richard Pops said. “Both companies have a proven track record as innovators.”

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