PHARMACY

CVS Caremark announces expansion of Pharmacy Advisor program

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has announced the extension of its Pharmacy Advisor program to cover an additional five chronic conditions, including asthma, breast cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression and osteoporosis.

The condition-based program alerts pharmacists when patients are not adherent to their medication regimens or have a gap in care, allowing them to intervene with patients and communicate with their physicians in real time.  Before this program extension, the Pharmacy Advisor program had focused on patients with diabetes or cardiovascular conditions, with more than 3.8 million interventions conducted to date.

It is estimated that medication nonadherence costs the U.S. economy nearly $300 billion annually. Studies suggest that poor medication adherence is linked to chronic conditions, and that medication persistence — the length of time a patient continues to take a prescribed drug — tends to be low for those with chronic conditions. Research also suggests that the design of medically appropriate regimens for individual patients can play a role in improving costs and outcomes associated with adherence and that intervention by pharmacists can reduce gaps in care.

"We are delighted to extend Pharmacy Advisor and its benefits to patients managing medications associated with additional chronic conditions," stated Troyen A. Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. "Pharmacists play an important role in the coordination of care for individuals living with chronic conditions and understand how critical medication adherence is in supporting their patients."

In addition to improving medication adherence, Pharmacy Advisor directs members with chronic conditions to existing disease management programs where they can obtain additional support, the company stated.

"Pharmacy Advisor not only improves quality of care for individuals with chronic conditions by providing an additional layer of support, but also addresses the important systemic challenges of healthcare costs related to medication nonadherence," stated Jon Roberts, president of CVS Caremark’s PBM business.  "Extending the program to cover a broader range of chronic conditions expands our ability to support even more patients on their path to better health, while reducing the burden of cost associated with medication nonadherence for patients with these conditions."


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PHARMACY

Purdue Pharma drug ‘significantly’ reduces time to fall back asleep in insomnia patients, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

STAMFORD, Conn. — An insomnia drug made by Purdue Pharma "significantly" reduced the time it took patients to return to sleep after they’d woke up in the middle of the night, according to a new study.

The placebo-controlled study, published in the journal Sleep, tested the drug Intermezzo (zolpidem tartrate) sublingual tablets on 295 adults with primary insomnia and difficulty returning to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. Purdue said Intermezzo was the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating such patients.

"In this outpatient pivotal trial, patients taking Intermezzo reported significantly reduced time to return to sleep than those taking placebo, which confirms that patients who wake in the middle of the night and have difficulty returning to sleep have an important treatment option to consider," study author and director of the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital Thomas Roth said.

Patients in the study were randomized to receive 3.5 mg of Intermezzo or placebo, and while all the patients took the 3.5 mg dose, only the 1.75 mg dose has the FDA’s approval for use in women, the company said. Over four weeks, the drug "significantly" reduced patient-estimated latency to sleep onset following middle-of-the-night awakenings compared with placebo, the study found.


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Innovation appoints Stephen Donohue as regional VP sales, chain, high-volume

BY Alaric DeArment

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. — Pharmacy automation system manufacturer Innovation has appointed Stephen Donohue as divisional VP sales, chain and high volume, the company said Thursday.

Innovation, which makes the PharmASSIST automation system, said Donohue would lead all the company’s sales and marketing activity for the retail chain, mail order and central fill markets.

Donohue has worked in sales and senior sales management roles in various pharmacy markets for more than 30 years, most recently as regional sales manager with pharmacy, workflow and inventory management firm Health Business Systems, which works with the retail, institutional, nursing home and mail-order pharmacy markets. Before that, he had senior management positions with ScriptPro and BSI Business Systems.

"Steve brings a wealth of industry experience, leadership skills and sales savvy to the Innovation team," Innovation EVP global business development Doyle Jensen said. "He has a proven track record of success at every level of his career."


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