PHARMACY

CVS recognized for its new Specialty Connect program by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark was awarded the 2014 Rx Benefit Innovation Award by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute on Tuesday, the company reported. The award recognizes the company’s new Specialty Connect program, which was developed by CVS Caremark to improve access, quality of care and convenience for specialty pharmacy patients.

While one-third of patients currently attempt to fill their specialty prescriptions at a local retail pharmacy because of the convenience and familiarity the location offers, 15% to 25% are turned away without the medication or direction on where to go for help, resulting in delayed or abandoned treatment. This is because today most retail pharmacies do not have access to the broad range of specialty drugs and are not trained or equipped to provide the necessary services. 

The Specialty Connect program leverages CVS Caremark’s retail and specialty pharmacy resources to help patients access their medications locally while still receiving dedicated clinical management services from experts in each therapeutic area. Through this program, CVS/pharmacy locations can accept specialty prescriptions, and patients have the choice of in-store pickup or delivery to their home or office. CVS Caremark Specialty Pharmacy CareTeam pharmacists and nurse practitioners provide ongoing clinical support and counseling by phone. In addition, value-added retail pharmacy services (e.g., text message prescription reminders, prescription status information and online prescription refill tools) are available to help patients stay on therapy and manage their condition.

"This program illustrates how the assets of the full CVS Caremark enterprise can transform how patients with specialty conditions access their medications and receive important clinical management services," stated Jon Roberts, president of CVS Caremark’s pharmacy benefit management business. "For CVS Caremark, this award recognizes our innovative approach to helping people on their path to better health, providing the greatest degree of convenience and access while maintaining the highest levels of clinical care."

CVS Caremark piloted Specialty Connect in the Philadelphia market in late 2012 through 2013. The results demonstrate the importance of integrating the retail pharmacy access that patients want; approximately half of patients chose to pick up their prescription at their local CVS/pharmacy store with the centralized clinical support they need to manage their condition.

"The pilot results showed medication adherence rates in patients accessing specialty through retail pharmacy that match the gold standard set by CVS Caremark Specialty Pharmacy. This level of performance was previously unmatched in the retail pharmacy setting, validating the impact of the Specialty Connect approach on both quality and convenience," said Alan Lotvin, EVP and head of CVS Caremark Specialty Pharmacy.

The Specialty Connect program will roll out nationally to all CVS/pharmacy stores by July 2014.

 

 

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PHARMACY

Students gear up for Medication Adherence Team Challenge

BY Ryan Chavis

WASHINGTON — February marks the launch of the third annual Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a month-long, intercollegiate competition among health profession student teams and faculty. The competition is coordinated by the National Consumers League, the lead organization on the national Script Your Future campaign.  

The Challenge is intended to help create solutions to raise awareness about medication adherence as a critical public health issue. This year, it will be sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, the American Medical Association, the National Community Pharmacists Association, American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the American Pharmacists Association.

“This year’s Student Challenge is strengthened by the involvement of a diverse group of sponsors from multiple sectors of the healthcare system. One of the best hopes we have to improve America’s culture of nonadherence is to train the next generation of healthcare professionals to be proactive about engaging their patients, and that starts in the classroom through the innovation brought forward by health professions faculty,” Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director, said.

At the end of the Challenge, select schools or colleges will be nationally recognized for their efforts.

"Everyone wins when patients take their medication as prescribed to achieve optimal health outcomes," AMA president Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D., said. "As a sponsor of the challenge, the AMA is pleased to work with other healthcare professionals to improve the health of our patients and avoid unnecessary health problems."  

Over the past two Challenges, more than 3,000 future healthcare professionals counseled more than 18,000 patients and reached more than 3 million consumers in their efforts. Last year’s award recipients included: St. Louis College of Pharmacy, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Touro University College of Pharmacy California and the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

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CDC updates immunization schedule recommendations

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday published an updated "Immunization Schedule for Adults Aged 19 Years or Older, 2014," in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The primary updates for the 2014 schedule include adding Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine to the figures and updating information in the footnote about persons for whom Hib vaccine is recommended; adding information to the influenza vaccine footnote and contraindications table regarding the newly licensed recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) and information about the use of RIV and inactivated influenza vaccine among persons with egg allergies; moving the footnote for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) recommendations before the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) recommendations because PCV13 should be administered first among persons for whom both vaccines are recommended; and clarifying information about the timing of the second and third doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, use of meningococcal vaccines among adults and recommendations for tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap) and tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccines (9–10).

Because of space limitations, many details of the full ACIP recommendations for each vaccine are not included in the schedule, and interested healthcare providers should refer to the full ACIP recommendations. In addition, changes in recommendations for specific vaccines might occur between annual updates to the adult immunization schedule. ACIP recommendations for specific vaccines are available at CDC.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/index.html.

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