PHARMACY

Boots U.K. testing in-store health guides armed with tablets

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON — Boots U.K. recently took a page out of Walgreens’ playbook with the placement of health guides across the front-end. 

As part of its multi-channel strategy, Boots U.K. is currently testing the use of iPads to support in-store ordering across 30 stores, the London-based drug store retailer recently announced. 

“Our ambition is to create a seamless customer experience across our online and in-store offering, and to bring the very best Boots U.K. has to offer to our customers," stated Ruth Spencer, Boots U.K. loyalty and multi-channel director. "Our vision is that our customers can access us where, when and however they want, and iPad technology will enable our colleagues to bring to life the fantastic range of products available at Boots U.K., regardless what size store our customers choose to visit.”

The test-market stores are medium-sized health and beauty format stores where store associates will be on hand with iPads to assist the selection and ordering of products. 

A number of community pharmacy ‘Your local Boots pharmacy’ stores are also testing the technology to provide an extra source of healthcare information via BootsWebMD.

 

 

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Walgreens research: 90 day at retail generates cost savings and does not increase wastage

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — A new Walgreens study examining the impact of 90-day medication refills at community pharmacies compared to 30-day refills for Medicaid patients found that across four therapeutic categories, patients with 90-day refills had greater medication adherence and greater persistency, nominal wastage and more cost savings. The study, titled "Medication Days’ Supply, Adherence, Wastage and Cost Among Chronic Patients in Medicaid," was published in Medicare & Medicaid Research Review and released Wednesday.

“Our 90-day refill program at our community pharmacies is an innovative healthcare solution that can help lower costs and improve patient outcomes, and another way in which Walgreens is advancing community pharmacy to help people get, stay and live well,” stated Jeffrey Kang, Walgreens SVP pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. “At the time of our study, only 13 states gave Medicaid patients the option to receive a 90-day medication supply. However, with the growing popularity and adoption of 90-day refills at community pharmacies, more and more Medicaid patients have an opportunity to benefit from face-to-face pharmacist interaction and the personalized care our pharmacists provide. Both patients and the healthcare system could benefit from reexamination of these broad state dispensing limitations.”

Compared to 30-day refills, patients with 90-day refills at community pharmacies had 20% higher adherence levels and 23% higher persistency rates. A projected savings of $13.95 per patient per year was tabulated, not including wastage costs, and adjusting for the effects of age, gender and comorbidity. 

The study’s release comes as states throughout the U.S. have aimed to contain Medicaid pharmacy costs by placing dispensing limits on medication days’ supply (most have a limit of 34 days), in an effort to limit medication wastage. The results demonstrate that wastage can be nominal across the 30-day and 90-day channels, and that three-month fills at community pharmacies have the potential to significantly improve outcomes and lower costs among Medicaid patients. Many of these patients include those with chronic conditions who often face major socioeconomic challenges affecting their ability to remain adherent to medication therapies. Notably, almost half (45%) of Medicaid beneficiaries have three or more chronic illnesses, and this population accounts for 75% of total Medicare costs, Walgreens reported. 

For the study, 52,898 patients prescribed to statin, antihypertensive, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or oral hypoglycemic medications were identified using California Medicaid claims from the Walgreens pharmacy chain in January 2010. Adherence is a measurement of how often patients take their medications as prescribed, and persistency is the length of time patients continue taking their medications. Medication wastage is defined as a switch of drug or drug strength within the same therapeutic class that occurred before the expected refill date.

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FDA approves Pfizer rheumatoid arthritis drug

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug for rheumatoid arthritis ahead of the day the agency was scheduled to decide whether or not to approve it, the agency said Tuesday.

The FDA announced the approval of Pfizer’s Xeljans (tofacitinib) for adults with moderately to severely active RA who have responded inadequately or can’t tolerate methotrexate, a commonly used generic drug for the disease. The FDA had been scheduled to decide whether or not to approve the drug on Nov. 21. RA affects about 1.5 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Xeljanz provides a new treatment option for adults suffering from the debilitating disease of RA who have had a poor response to methotrexate," FDA Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Rheumatology Products director Badrul Chowdhury said.


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