PHARMACY

Armada summit’s growth in attendance symbolizes growth of specialty channel

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — A 30% rise in attendance at the Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit is nothing to brush off — it’s as clear an indication as any that specialty pharmacy is growing and probably poised for more growth in the near future, thanks in particular to the aging population and consequential rise in the number of people living with difficult-to-treat medical conditions.

(THE NEWS: 8th annual Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit sees 30% boost in attendance. Forthe full story, click here)

The latest events in drug development certainly would indicate this. On Thursday, GBI Research released a report showing that the market for orphan drugs, treatments for rare diseases, would increase in value from 2010’s $2.3 billion to $6 billion in 2018. This came the day after Pfizer and Protalix BioTherapeutics won Food and Drug Administration approval for a new drug for Gaucher disease. Last month, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America released a report showing that drug companies invested $49.5 billion in research and development in 2011, noting that of the 35 drugs to win approval last year, 14 were for conditions that fall under the category of those addressed by specialty pharmacy, including the first new drug for lupus since 1955.

Pharmacy retailers certainly have taken notice as well, which is why more and more of them have been getting into specialty, with Walgreens, Hy-Vee and Costco Wholesale serving as notable examples. Last month, Walgreens Infusion Services presented a study at the National Home Infusion Association’s annual conference in Phoenix, indicating that its home infusion service may deliver services for patients with hereditary angioedema, a rare and life-threatening genetic disorder, faster than emergency room visits. According to the study, more than 92% of Walgreens’ treatments of patients experiencing episodes with Dyax’s injected drug Kalbitor (ecallantide) occurred within two hours, while the average emergency room stay lasts longer than two hours.

Walgreens isn’t the only company to offer home infusion services, meaning that the providers that do offer them, as well as other specialty pharmacy services, could immensely benefit from them, as can patients who can access an expanded range of services from an expanded range of providers.

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PHARMACY

E-prescribing up by 75% in 2011, Surescripts says

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. — More than one-third of prescriptions were sent electronically in 2011, the country’s largest e-prescribing network said.

Surescripts issued an executive summary of its annual e-prescribing progress report Thursday showing that 570 million prescriptions, or 36% of the total, were sent electronically, a 75% increase over 2010’s 326 million. In addition, 317,000 office-based physicians, or 58%, were e-prescribing, compared with 1-in-10 three years ago.

Other figures indicated that e-prescribing has a significant effect on first-fill medication adherence. Out of every 100 prescriptions, 76.5% of those sent electronically are picked up, compared with 69.5% of those that aren’t.

The network plans to release its full progress report later this month.


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C.SULLIVAN says:
May-07-2012 01:47 pm

Unfortunately the E-scripts are only as good as the people entering them and the number of script errors has dramatically increased as our use of e-prescribing has increased. There just isn't enough attention to detail or training for the individuals using the e-script programs. It has gotten so bad we almost have to verify verbally by phone all the e-rx's we get because our trust in the system is so low. It has not saved us any time, and probably has increased the amount of time we have to take on each e-rx.

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PHARMACY

Signs continue to point to growth for retail health clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Two speakers at the American Telemedicine Association’s annual meeting last week had positive words for the convenient care industry and essentially told attendees what Drug Store News has been saying for some time: Retail clinics are poised for significant growth.

(THE NEWS: Retail clinics positioned for dramatic growth. For the full story, click here.)

As the article stated, Health Resources chairman and CEO Ron Hammerle, and Jay Sanders, president and CEO of at the Global Telemedicine Group and Health Resources VP, told attendees that smartphones, medical centers of excellence, automated clinical labs and digital medical devices will transform retail-affiliated clinics into global ports of entry to prime health care at dramatically lower costs to patients, physicians, employers, governments and insurers.

Hammerle also said that such clinic retailers as Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, Kroger, Target and Rite Aid are beginning to see "major growth opportunities.”

As DSN has stated, this year is looking to be a significant year for the convenient care industry as retail-based health clinics gear up for expansion and move even closer to version 2.0.

With an anticipated growth of consumer-driven care and more of the burden for managing costs falling on patients’ shoulders, expect retail clinic visits to continue to rise, clinic operators to open more locations and services to increasing extend beyond treating acute ailments and further integrate with medication therapy management.

In fact, CVS Caremark just reported on May 2 that its MinuteClinic business experienced nearly a 22% boost in revenues during the first quarter.

During the quarterly conference call with analysts, CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo told analysts: “It is important to note that, while MinuteClinic is a small business relative to the overall enterprise, it does receive a fair amount of airtime with [pharmacy benefit management] clients. It is an important piece of our integrated strategy, and our clients are very interested in how MinuteClinic can help them reduce costs while keeping their members healthy. We believe our plans to double our clinic count over the next several years should position us well to play an important role in solving the primary care physician shortage, especially with millions of newly insured individuals expected to the healthcare marketplace.”

Meanwhile, Kalorama Information, an independent healthcare market research firm, has stated that, through 2015, retail clinic sales are expected to continue expanding, rising by 19.3% per year to reach $1.7 billion.

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