PHARMACY

E-health board taps Surescripts counsel

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Electronic prescribing platform provider Surescripts said Monday that Paul Uhrig, the company’s general counsel, EVP of legal and finance and chief privacy officer, has been tapped to serve on the National eHealth Collaborative board of directors.

NeHC is a public-private partnership whose purpose is the creation of a secure, interoperable, nationwide health information network. The goal, according to Surescripts: to “advance the American public’s interest in health and improve the quality, safety, efficiency and accessibility of health care.” The organization operates under a cooperative agreement with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

“Both the team at Surescripts and our colleagues within NeHC share a collaborative goal of incorporating technology into health care to improve lives, increase efficiencies and enable a seamless and secure exchange of information,” said Uhrig. “I’m thrilled to join this panel of industry visionaries [who] share our objectives.”

NeHC chair Laura Adams said the “ultimate objective” for NeHC is “measurably improving individual and population health by enabling the seamless and secure nationwide exchange of electronic health information.” Achieving that goal “will require unprecedented engagement and collaboration among all the stakeholders of our healthcare system,” added Adams, who is also president and CEO of Rhode Island Quality Institute.

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Lupin receives FDA approval for hypertension generic

BY Alaric DeArment

BALTIMORE The Food and Drug Administration has given approval to a generic version of a drug used to treat high blood pressure made by an Indian drug maker.

Lupin Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday that it had received approval for perindopril erbumine tablets, used to treat essential hypertension and management of coronary artery disease.

The drug is a generic version of Solvay Pharmaceuticals’ Aceon, which had sales of $24 million during the 12-month period ending in September 2009, according to IMS Health.

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Loose ends should be tied to make e-prescribing a reality

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Relative to the national chains, independent pharmacies have limited resources and, given the importance and benefit of e-prescribing, further helping to facilitate the adoption of e-prescribing via grants — not to mention facilitating two-way communication between prescribers and pharmacists — is critical to help push overall adoption closer to the finish line.

THE NEWS: (NCPA: E-prescribing should be more efficient in two-way communication, cost. For the full story, click here)

As stated in the article, the National Community Pharmacists Association, at a recent e-prescribing committee, recommended providing grants to offset implementation and transaction fee costs and making two-way communication between prescribers and pharmacists easier.

In written testimony at a hearing of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Information Technology Policy Committee Information Exchange Workgroup, the NCPA acknowledged that community pharmacists have a vested interest in making e-prescribing work but yet cost challenges remain.

E-prescribing has been praised ­especially in recent years ­ as it has been shown to increase the likelihood that patients will get their prescriptions filled and, in turn, avoid more expensive medical procedures. There’s also less of a chance for errors compared with paper prescriptions.

E-prescribing has achieved impressive milestones in recent years but the journey is far from over. In October 2009, e-prescribing network provider Surescripts announced that 23% of all office-based physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the United States are now e-prescribing. At that rate, Surescripts projected that its total number of active e-prescribers in 2009 would more than double the 74,000 active e-prescribers at the end of 2008.

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