HEALTH

Decision Resources: Market for Alzheimer’s disease drugs will expand

BY Alaric DeArment

BURLINGTON, Mass. Biotech drugs for treating Alzheimer’s disease will more than triple the size of the market in several key countries over the next decade, according to a new report by industry research company Decision Resources.

The report showed that bapineuzumab, made by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, and Eli Lilly’s solanezumab will drive the market for Alzheimer’s drugs from 2009’s $4.3 billion to $13.3 billion in 2019 in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Whereas most current Alzheimer’s drugs are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, or AChEIs, which treat the disease’s cognitive symptoms without modifying its course, the new drugs have the potential to slow the rate of neural degeneration and cognitive decline, according to the report. Still, sales of AChEIs will remain strong through the decade.

“Despite increased generic competition and the launch of more-expensive and potentially more-efficacious therapies, AChEI sales will be buoyed through 2019,” Decision Resources director Bethany Kiernan said. “This will be largely due to an overall market expansion driven by increases in the number of drug-treated patients but also, to a lesser extent, by the launch of new formulations of branded AChEIs.”

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NACDS, NCPA in joint statement praise CMS’ move to withdraw provisions of AMP rule currently blocked by injunction

BY Drug Store News Team

ALEXANDRIA, Va. National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson and National Community Pharmacists Association acting EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey issued a statement praising the proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would withdraw existing provisions of the Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement formula under the average manufacturer price model.

"We are pleased that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a rule that would withdraw provisions of what is known as the Medicaid average manufacturer price rule. The proposed rule calls for the withdrawal of existing provisions that define AMP, that determine the calculation of federal upper limits, and that define ‘multiple source drug.’ Put simply, all of these provisions relate to the reimbursement to pharmacies for generic Medicaid prescriptions, and thus impact patients’ access to pharmacies. The move to withdraw these provisions is a victory for patient care as it is delivered in America’s pharmacies every day."

"When we filed the lawsuit in 2007 we knew that patient care was at stake. It is important to point out that the withdrawal of these provisions is another step toward reducing what would have been major cuts to pharmacy reimbursement. The end result is not an increase in reimbursement to pharmacy, but rather the lessening of cuts that previously would have involved pharmacies selling most generic drugs at a loss, thereby threatening their long-term ability to provide patient care."

 

“We insisted that this policy was not appropriate. Separately, we also have urged that policy-makers should recognize the ability of pharmacies and pharmacists to help improve health and reduce healthcare costs. We are gratified that this sense is reflected in the pharmacy provisions of the new healthcare-reform law. The new law contains provisions ranging from dramatically reducing the AMP cuts to advancing medication therapy management, through which pharmacists can help patients take their medications correctly. … The costs related to poor medication adherence have been estimated to reach $290 billion annually, or 13% of all healthcare expenditures. We urged that patient care should not be jeopardized, but rather that pharmacy be engaged more strategically for the good of patient health and healthcare delivery."

 

“We anticipate issuing formal comments on CMS’ proposed rule to withdraw these provisions of the AMP rule, and we will continue to work with Congress and with CMS to advocate for access to pharmacy services for patients.”

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Walgreens to customers: Protect your Rxs from Hurricane Earl

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens is offering safety tips to East Coasters dealing with Hurricane Earl.

Walgreens is a member of ICERx.org (In Case of Emergency Prescriptions), a secure prescription information network available to pharmacists and doctors during a national emergency. As members, Walgreens pharmacists can fill prescriptions and access information for hurricane-affected patients even if the patient normally uses another pharmacy.

The drug store chain also offered the following tips to customers:

  • If you evacuate, get to a safe location first and refill your medication at a pharmacy there. This allows you to avoid potentially long lines at your local pharmacy, and you won’t needlessly delay your evacuation. Patients can find the nearest store by calling 1-800-WALGREENS or going to Walgreens.com;
  • Take a waterproof bag with your current medication — even if the bottle is empty. The information on the bottle label will help the pharmacist refill your medicine once you arrive at your destination. Heat, humidity and sunlight can degrade the effectiveness of medicine, so try to protect it from extreme weather conditions;
  • Keep a written record of your current prescriptions in your valuable papers file. If you’re taking several prescription drugs, it’s an especially good idea to keep a record of your current dosage and doctor’s contact information. Walgreens patients can register online at Walgreens.com and print out this information directly from their patient profile; and
  • Users of Web-enabled cell phones also can register for Walgreens mobile applications to conveniently order prescription refills while on the go and easily locate the nearest Walgreens pharmacy. For registration or more information on Walgreens mobile applications, visit Walgreens.com/GoMobile.

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