PHARMACY

BioPlus highlights services to hurricane-affected patient

BY Alaric DeArment

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — By the time Hurricane Sandy had finished sweeping up the East Coast, it left billions of dollars in damage and took dozens of lives.

But it caused another dimension of hardship for some people: those living with chronic diseases.

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy highlighted on Wednesday the case of Gloria Brown, a woman living on the New Jersey shore who had been diagnosed with hepatitis C 12 weeks before, which she had contracted through a blood transfusion. Brown took the drugs she was prescribed despite the harsh side effects, and after six weeks, she received word that the virus had become undetected, opening the possibility of a cure.

But when Hurricane Sandy arrived on Oct. 29, it made landfall before she received her drugs, which were stuck at a distribution hub in another state. Her town was flooded, most roads were blocked and there was no power. An interruption in treatment could cause the virus to rebound and become resistant to treatment.

BioPlus, however, said it was working on multiple backup plans to make sure Brown’s medications were delivered. Plans included using samples from local doctors and transferring the prescription to another pharmacy, but those didn’t work, so BioPlus managed to find a private courier who was able to pick up the package and deliver it personally to Brown’s door.

The company said subsequent tests showed Brown’s virus was still undetected and that she’s on track for a complete cure.


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PHARMACY

NCPA urges Congress to examine wasteful spending on unnecessary medication refills

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday urged Congress, such as through mail order, as lawmakers held a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Examining Options to Combat Health Care Waste, Fraud and Abuse.”

According to the House committee’s web site, its lawmakers are concerned about Medicare spending in particular and the hearing is intended to “explore potential new approaches to address these substantial and ongoing threats.”

To that end, in a message to Congressional offices NCPA provided pictures and accounts from its member community pharmacists of unused medication brought in by patients (after receiving it through the mail) for proper disposal.

One example comes from Oklahoma pharmacist Todd Pendergraft of Broken Arrow Family Drug who in March posted a video on YouTube presenting the amount of waste of unused medications diabetes testing supplies, including insulin, that was brought in by one customer for disposal. "I thought it would be a good idea for me to use these products to give … a visual of how much medication and how many diabetes testing supplies are being wasted by the use of the mail order pharmacy system," he says in the video. 

About 1,600 independent community pharmacies across the country participate in the Dispose My Meds program through which the cases were documented, NCPA noted. 

 

 

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Physicians Interactive and McKesson collaborate on electronic voucher program delivered to clinicians

BY Michael Johnsen

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Physicians Interactive and McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions on Tuesday announced a joint collaboration to deliver eCoupon, one of the industry’s first automated pharmaceutical voucher and coupon distribution solution for clinicians who use electronic health records and ePrescribing software.  

The collaboration between PI and MPRS creates the opportunity to increase the access of health professionals to web- and mobile-based patient adherence and support programs that can assist in that clinician’s ability to optimize patient care and treatment.

“With our extensive experience in implementing comprehensive adherence programs, our partnership with Physicians Interactive accelerates our ability to appropriately add value to ePrescribing technologies,” stated Derek Rago, VP marketing and strategy, MPRS. “This enables more meaningful physician-patient interactions, which has been shown to increase patient engagement that ultimately will help patients be more adherent resulting in better health outcomes.”

The impact of coupons and vouchers at the point of care has been reinforced by industry research, including a recent physician survey by McKesson, which found that 70% of physicians emphasized the importance of sharing medication discounts at the point of prescribing as a way to promote patient adherence. Integration and access to coupons via ePrescribing and EHRs is critical for physician adoption. By the end of 2011, more than half of office-based physicians used ePrescribing, versus one-in-ten three years ago. Additionally, the number of prescriptions routed electronically increased 75% in just one year’s time, with more than 570 million electronic prescriptions dispensed in 2011.

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