PHARMACY

ESI launches ScreenRx, offers preview of 2011 ‘Drug Trend Report’

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — Fresh off the heels of its merger with Medco Health Solutions, pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts announced Monday the launch of a medication nonadherence detection system and offered a preview of its annual "Drug Trend Report."

ScreenRx uses predictive modeling to detect future risk for nonadherence and tailors interventions for individual patients, offering them interventions to help them stay on their therapies once they’re identified. The program considers more than 400 known factors about the patient, physician, disease and therapy to identify who is most likely to stop taking their medications and identify ways to prevent nonadherence, such as daily alerts, 90-day fills or auto-renewals.

"ScreenRx enables Express Scripts to provide the most appropriate assistance to help each individual patient make healthier decisions, months after they might stop taking their medication," ESI chief medical officer Steve Miller said. "This solution brings the country one step closer to more affordable and effective care."

According to the 2011 "Drug Trend Report," for many therapies, less than 50% of patients take their medications as prescribed, costing the country’s healthcare system $317.4 billion in 2011, while eliminating nonadherence would cover the cost of providing health care for more than 44.8 million uninsured Americans.

The report also found that spending on prescription drugs increased 2.7% in 2011, the lowest annual drug trend the PBM has ever recorded. Trend for traditional medications fell to 0.1%, while specialty drug trend increased by 17.1%, with the top three specialty classes — inflammatory diseases, multiple sclerosis and cancer — accounting for 57.6% of total specialty spending. Meanwhile, hepatitis C had the highest cost increase of any specialty therapy class thanks to the introduction of new drugs.

Meanwhile, a 7% trend was found in diabetes, which accounts for the largest drug spend.

 


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NCPA heralds ‘Protect Your Pharmacy Week’

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association announced its recognition of the fifth annual "Protect Your Pharmacy Week" beginning Monday.

The week is a reflection of the Protect Your Pharmacy Now! initiative, which was launched in 2008 by the partnering organizations to encourage pharmacists to protect their stores, staff and patients against pharmacy crimes, including prescription drug robbery and thefts.

“[Community pharmacists] are proud of the fact that most independent community pharmacies have strong, long-lasting, face-to-face, personal relationships with their patients," NCPA past-president Joseph Harmison said. "This in fact serves as a deterrent to abuse because we know our patients, making it easier for us to detect a doctor shopper just looking for more controlled substances. Accordingly, we support efforts to educate pharmacists regarding how to effectively fulfill their role in decreasing prescription drug misuse, abuse and diversion.”

A highlight of the week is the annual call for volunteer video nominations for the Protect Your Pharmacy Now/RxPatrol Pharmacy Safety and Security Video. These training videos have featured various NCPA members offering real-life examples, tips and suggestions on pharmacy theft, primarily regarding robberies and burglaries. This year’s video will address instance of prescription fraud and diversion, such as forgeries, internal theft and doctor shopping. The video will be revealed at the 2012 NCPA Annual Convention and Trade Exposition in San Diego, October 13 to 17.

During Protect Your Pharmacy Week, pharmacists in all settings can read a weeklong series on various aspects of pharmacy safety and security on NCPA’s blog, The Dose, at NCPAnet.wordpress.com.

Crimes against pharmacy are a continuing problem, NCPA noted, with an 82% increase in pharmacy robberies in the past five years, according to the DEA. NCPA recently mailed to its members an updated reissue of its Protect Your Pharmacy Now! toolkit, with safety and security tips, and checklists to help pharmacies assess their current security needs. In addition, NCPA members receive posters and window clings to serve as reminders to employees, customers and drug seekers that robbing a pharmacy is a federal offense and carries with it severe penalties. The kit also includes discounts the NCPA has secured for employee background screenings, narcotics safes, surveillance systems, cameras, alarms and other theft-deterrent products to provide a turn-key resource for pharmacy operators.

In addition, NCPA recently endorsed the Safe Doses Act (S. 1002), legislation increasing penalties for theft and diversion of prescription medications. The issue also will be addressed at the upcoming NCPA Legislative Conference in May, with a pharmacy crime panel featuring representatives from Purdue Pharma, the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

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Drug disposal: The other side of pharmacy

BY Jim Frederick

Earth Day is April 22. So it’s as good a time as any to look at one aspect of community pharmacy that gets far less attention than such issues as managed care reimbursements or medication therapy management, but nonetheless is a key service provided by some pharmacists and a benefit to communities and the environment.

We’re talking about drug and syringe disposal. In anticipation of Earth Day 2012, the National Community Pharmacists Association is urging pharmacists "to demonstrate their role as a respected and knowledgeable resource on all aspects of medications, from dispensing to disposal."

How? By becoming a collection center for used syringes and old, expired or unused prescription medicines.

Each year, tons of unused or expired meds and millions of needles end up flushed into the water supply or deposited in landfills. Pharmacies that participate in such collection/disposal systems as NCPA’s Dispose My Meds program or the Sharps TakeAway Environmental Return System can keep that from happening while they forge stronger ties with patients.

In the two years since its launch, NCPA said, pharmacists participating in Dispose My Meds have collected some 70,000 lbs. of unused or expired noncontrolled medications.

That includes some pretty incredible catches. In Cohoes, N.Y., for instance, the son of a deceased former county employee brought $30,000 worth of unopened, unused medications into Marra’s Pharmacy, including pills, insulin, insulin strips and more than 50 boxes of nasal spray.

This is more than just a feel-good environmental initiative. By serving as a drop-off point for unused or expired meds and syringes, a retail or clinical pharmacy also can spur more pharmacist-to-patient interactions and anchor itself even more firmly within the web of community health providers.

“Community pharmacies that voluntarily offer drug disposal services for their patients have an opportunity to build better relationships with patients as they discuss their medication needs,” said NCPA president and independent pharmacy owner Lonny Wilson. "The face-to-face, patient-pharmacist interaction in a community pharmacy improves health outcomes and prevents the waste that is associated with ‘auto-shipping’ mail-order programs.”

If you’re a practicing pharmacist whose workplace serves as a drop-off site, please share your stories with us. What kind of unused or expired products are patients bringing in, and has the process led to a boost in store traffic or new patients?

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