PHARMACY

CVS/pharmacy waives co-pays at select stores in areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As part of its continuing efforts to help communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, CVS/pharmacy has announced that it is waiving prescription co-payments, deductibles and other financial liability related to prescription medications for patients who cannot pay at selected stores in the hardest hit neighborhoods in New York City and surrounding communities. 

This co-pay waiver program, which began on Nov. 12 and will run until the end of the month, is being undertaken with the cooperation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the New York City Office of the Mayor and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  

In addition, CVS/pharmacy is operating a mobile pharmacy at the site of its closed store at 88-07 Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Rockaway Beach, N.Y. This facility will also participate in the co-pay waiver program.

CVS/pharmacy noted that the program is not a blanket waiver of all co-payments and that requests to cover medication costs will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  

For a list of stores participating in the co-pay waiver program click here.
 

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PHARMACY

Kroger announces merger with specialty pharmacy Axium Pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Thursday announced it will acquire the outstanding shares of Axium Pharmacy Holdings, a leading specialty pharmacy, and merge the two companies.

The partnership gives Kroger significantly enhanced capabilities to serve customers who require complex drug therapies, and to deliver those therapies at a greater value to customers and insurance payers, the grocer stated. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Kroger and Axium are a strategic fit as we look to enter the high-growth specialty pharmacy business," stated Lincoln Lutz, Kroger VP corporate pharmacy. "The combination of Axium’s expertise and Kroger’s 1,950 pharmacy locations, 91 Little Clinic locations and pharmacists who provide health coaching, biometric screening and other wellness services will deliver positive health outcomes for our patients, cost savings for insurance payers and unique services for physicians."

"We are excited to partner with Kroger to deliver specialty pharmacy services to their customers," added Mark Montgomery, Axium’s president and CEO. "We believe this relationship will create efficiencies that will reduce costs, drive growth and improve the overall quality of our combined healthcare services."

Founded in 2000, Axium provides drug therapies and patient-support services to treat chronic, genetic and other complex medical conditions, such as cancer, hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and numerous other chronic care conditions. 

In a press release announcing the merger, Kroger noted that specialty pharmacy is the primary area of growth in pharmaceuticals. Revenue for specialty drugs has grown from $17 billion in 2000 to $104 billion in 2011, and is projected to grow to $135 billion in 2014. In 2011, 80% of new drugs approved by the FDA were specialty drugs. Currently, more than 700 specialty drugs are in the pipeline for approval.

The transaction is contingent on typical conditions of closing, including any required approval by regulatory authorities. Edge Healthcare Partners served as Axium’s financial adviser for the pending merger.

 

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NCR Corp., SoloHealth sign three-year health kiosk maintenance contract

BY Alaric DeArment

DULUTH, Ga. — NCR Corp. is partnering with health kiosk maker SoloHealth to service interactive consumer healthcare kiosks at retailers as SoloHealth rolls them out around the country, the two companies said Tuesday.

NCR’s services group has signed a three-year contract with SoloHealth to provide on-site repairs after the units are installed in what the companies expect to be more than 2,500 retail locations by the middle of 2013.

The stations, which provide screenings for vision, blood pressure, weight, symptoms checking, body mass index and overall health, will be installed in mass merchandise, drug and grocery stores, including Walmart and Sam’s Club.

"With health care such a vital and hot topic, NCR is very excited to be working with SoloHealth to make an easy-to-use health monitoring and assessment solution available to thousands of Americans and keep these thousands of innovative devices up and running for retailers looking to drive store traffic and build shopper loyalty," NCR VP retail sales Bill Barton said.


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