PHARMACY

California expands scope of pharmacy practice

BY Michael Johnsen

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Along with a number of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act-themed pieces of legislation, California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law a provision that will allow pharmacists to perform physical assessments; order and interpret laboratory tests; refer patients to other providers; start, adjust and terminate medications under physician protocol; and work with other healthcare providers to evaluate and manage a patient’s health issues.  

"This legislation will take important steps to allow pharmacists to provide patients care at a level they are educated and fully capable of providing," the National Community Pharmacists Association stated in a blog. "The bill also is notable for its collaborative approach to other healthcare providers. It is supported by many healthcare-related organizations including the California Association for Nurse Practitioners, the California Association of Physician Groups and the California Hospital Association."

"Hopefully adoption of this legislation by the most populous U.S. state will prompt more states to enact similar legislation in the coming months," the association added.

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Actavis appoints board of directors for Irish division following Irish High Court clearance of Warner Chilcott deal

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN — Actavis has appointed the board of directors for the division it recently created as part of its acquisition of Ireland-based Warner Chilcott, the drug maker said.

Actavis, which announced the $8.5 billion purchase of Warner Chilcott, cleared the final regulatory hurdle to the acquisition Monday when the Irish High Court approved it. As part of the acquisition, it is changing Warner Chilcott’s name to Actavis plc.

The board of directors includes Actavis president and CEO Paul Bisaro; Warner Chilcott board member James Bloem; Actavis board member and retired president of healthcare services for CVS Caremark Christopher Bodine; Warner Chilcott board member Tamar Howson; Warner Chilcott non-executive board chairman John King; Actavis board member Catherine Klema; former Zentiva chairman and CEO Jiri Michal; Actavis board member Jack Michelson; Actavis Pharma president Sigurdur Oli Olafsson, who oversees the company’s generic, branded generic, legacy brands and OTC business; Warner Chilcott board member Patrick O’Sullivan; Actavis board member Ronald Taylor; Actavis board member Andrew Turner; and Actavis board member Fred Weiss.

The board’s appointment is effective until the next annual meeting of shareholders, which will take place in May 2014.

 

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Walgreens Infusion Services can save $10.8 million in healthcare costs annually

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Outcomes improve, and there can be significant cost savings when infusion pharmacists monitor patients receiving home-based infusion services and intervene when dose adjustments are necessary, according to a Walgreens outcomes analysis study being presented Wednesday at IDWeek 2013 in San Francisco.

The retrospective analysis conducted by Walgreens Infusion Services involved 257 home-infusion patients who had received intravenous antibiotics, such as vancomycin or aminoglycosides, and found that proactive infusion pharmacist interventions resulting from consistent, intensive monitoring and care led to improved clinical outcomes 95.8% of the time. 

The analysts estimated that when the infusion pharmacists intervened and made adjustments in the therapy, there was an associated estimated potential savings of more than $150,000 by preventing adverse health effects. 

“Ensuring that patients are receiving the optimal dose is key, as too much medication can cause serious side effects, such as kidney damage and hearing loss, and too little is ineffective,” stated Steve Kennedy, national director of Infusion Pharmacy Services for Walgreens Infusion Services. 

In most cases, infusion therapy involves the administration of medication into a vein. Walgreens infusion pharmacists closely and regularly monitor the levels of these medications in patients’ blood. When levels are inappropriate, Walgreens pharmacists recommend therapy modifications, such as changes in dose, frequency or duration of infusion. They also provide other guidance, such as recommending a change in medication if the infection is not responding, managing adverse medication side effects or preventing drug interactions. 

“Walgreens infusion pharmacists are dedicated to providing patients with personalized care and support,” said Paul Mastrapa, president of Walgreens Infusion Services. “They proactively go above and beyond what is required, and as a result, patients benefit through improved outcomes and the health care system benefits by avoiding costs associated with treating the consequences of inappropriate therapy.” 

During the six-month period reviewed, involving 257 randomly selected patients, Walgreens infusion pharmacists recommended 101 interventions, all of which were provided for approval to the patients’ physicians before they were made. The patients’ doctors accepted 97 of those recommendations (96%). Of the accepted recommendations, 93 (95.8%) resulted in improved clinical outcomes, meaning the appropriate blood medication levels were reached as a result.

The analysts estimated that each intervention saved approximately $1,623 on average in healthcare cost avoidance, totaling an estimated $150,933. Based on outcomes analysis and Walgreens Infusion Services’ annual antibiotic patient census, analysts estimate these types of interventions could save the healthcare system $10.8 million every year. 

 

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