PHARMACY

CVS Caremark’s Helena Foulkes outlines integrated pharmacy-based program at forum

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — CVS Caremark’s chief healthcare strategy officer on Tuesday outlined how the company’s integrated pharmacy-based program for such chronic diseases as diabetes, called Pharmacy Advisor, increased medication adherence rates and physician initiation of prescriptions for concomitant medications to improve patient health.

At a forum sponsored by Health Affairs, Helena Foulkes, EVP and chief healthcare strategy and marketing officer, presented findings from a new CVS Caremark study that reviewed how Pharmacy Advisor, through targeted outreach and patient counseling, improved plan member health outcomes while working to reduce healthcare costs. 

"This study highlights the central role pharmacists play in improving the health of their patients and how our programs leverage that expertise as we reinvent pharmacy care," Foulkes said. "The program featured counseling by pharmacists at retail stores and a dedicated pharmacist call center for those identified as having diabetes. The pharmacist interventions resulted in increased patient adherence and encouraged higher initiation rates of medications needed to best treat diabetes. The results show we are helping people on their path to better health."

Presentations at the event discussed studies published in the January issue of Health Affairs that focused on treatment and healthcare programs for people with diabetes. As previously reported by Drug Store News, the Health Affairs January issue included a CVS Caremark study that outlined findings from an analysis of the pharmacy claims data of benefit members at a large Midwest manufacturing company that focused on interventions with diabetic patients between October 2009 and April 2010.

The study followed medication behavior of an intervention group of 5,123 people with diabetes who were proactively counseled by retail and call center pharmacists; and a control group of 24,124 patients with diabetes who did not receive specialized counseling. The researchers measured gains in patient adherence and medication initiation rates of concomitant therapies for diabetes, such as statins, ACE inhibitors and ARBs.

Researchers from CVS Caremark, assisted by experts from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, illustrated that contacts by pharmacists with the patients and their doctors increased therapy initiation rates by as much as 39% for the full sample, and an even higher 68% for the group counseled at retail stores, and increased medication adherence rates by 2.1%. The researchers noted that face-to-face interventions by retail store pharmacists resulted in increasing adherence rates by 3.9%.

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PHARMACY

Shopko launches pharmacy smartphone app

BY Alaric DeArment

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Mass merchandise chain Shopko has launched a new mobile application for pharmacy customers, the chain said Tuesday.

Fresh off the heals of its merger with Pamida, Shopko announced the launch of an app for Blackberry, Android and iPhone users that will allow customers to refill and manage their pharmacy prescriptions.

Customers using the app can request refills, review active prescription details — including expiration dates, refills remaining and overdue refills — set up dosage reminders and receive email and text notifications when a refill is ready. It also includes a pharmacy locator that allows customers to locate and get driving directions to a pharmacy while checking hours of operation.

"We are always exploring new ways to improve customer service and make our pharmacy services more convenient, and this app makes finding our stores and filling prescriptions on their mobile devices quick and easy for our customers," Shopko president, chairman and CEO Paul Jones said. "This app is in direct response to consumer demand, and we’ve worked hard to develop the features most important to our customers. This will be a convenient and simple new way to access our award-winning pharmacy services."


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Shire acquires U.S. rights to constipation drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA — Shire has acquired U.S. rights to a drug used to treat chronic constipation in women from Johnson & Johnson, the company said Tuesday.

Shire announced the acquisition of rights to Resolor (prucalopride) from J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Shire acquired European rights to the drug in 2010 when it bought Belgian drug maker Movetis, which itself had acquired rights to the drug from Janssen.

 


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