PHARMACY

Express Scripts plays down Walgreens impact

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS — Express Scripts chairman and CEO George Paz on Thursday played down the impact of Walgreens’ exit from its pharmacy network.

"Roughly 20% of our book had been in Walgreens stores, and almost all of that was scheduled to move," he said, noting that Express Scripts beefed up its client and member experience teams to handle both the transitioning from Walgreens along with the annual plan changes across Medicare and private providers at the top of each year to the point of overstaffing. "We needed to make sure that every member who calls in, that was looking for a convenient outlet or a way to process their prescriptions, whether it was a movement to mail or to another retailer, that we would make sure we could handle that."

However, without Walgreens, between 98.4% and 98.5% of Express Scripts’ business now is in what Paz defined as a narrow network. "At the end of the day, taking out a large retailer like this, in effect speaks to a narrow network. We don’t have [Walgreens] in," he said. "Our clients are very supportive," he added, stating that narrower networks "do work."

And just as Walgreens has stated it is moving forward without Express Scripts, so too is Express Scripts moving forward without Walgreens. During the Thursday morning analyst call, Paz suggested that the clinical offerings fielded by Walgreens "hasn’t been proven to reduce cost."

Express Scripts reported Wednesday in its full year 2011 review that adjusted claims totaled 751.5 million, down slightly from 2010, and is projecting claims for 2012 to be flat to slightly higher by 2%. The company deferred any further projections until after its merger with Medco, which the company is confident will be concluded in the first half of this year.

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PHARMACY

AACP, NCPA sponsor contest to spawn best practices on adherence education

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the National Community Pharmacists Association are focusing on the issue of medication adherence with the announcement of a joint pharmacy educators challenge and half-day symposium that will highlight the best practices in teaching medication adherence.
 
The Medication Adherence Educators Challenge is the first effort of its kind and is aimed at better understanding the resources and teaching strategies currently being utilized to prepare student pharmacists to detect, monitor and improve medication adherence in pharmacy practice. It calls upon schools to submit their teaching tools in the area of medication adherence, including tools currently used in the curriculum and experiential learning, as well as ideas and concepts still in development.
 
“This challenge and symposium provide an unprecedented opportunity for faculty members to share their medication adherence education tools, as well as to strategically think about innovative teaching methods that could be utilized by academic pharmacy and other health professions in the future,” AACP EVP and CEO Lucinda Maine said.
 
The three challenge categories include didactic, laboratory and experiential educational teaching tools, with consideration given to entries designed to assist students in planning and applying an adherence intervention strategy. The submissions will be judged by representatives from AACP and NCPA. Three submissions will be chosen as the challenge winners. Each winning school will receive a $1,000 award, and each submitting author will receive a $500 honorarium.

The deadline for challenge entries is March 30. More information about the challenge, including the submission guidelines, may be found on the AACP website. A symposium agenda as well as pre-registration for the symposium will be available in May 2012, the association said.
 
The most innovative tools will be presented as part of a joint AACP-NCPA Medication Adherence Educators Symposium on July 18 in Kissimmee, Fla. The half-day symposium dedicated to adherence teaching will be held in conjunction with AACP’s 2012 Annual Meeting at the Gaylord Palms Resort, and will provide pharmacy faculty members the chance to share best practices, resources, and teaching strategies currently being used to teach medication adherence.
 
In addition to working with AACP, NCPA recently launched Simplify My Meds, a personalized coordinated refill program that facilitates improved adherence by aligning a patient’s prescriptions to be filled on the same day each month. The model decreases regimen complexity and reduces the risk of gaps in therapy.
 
NCPA and AACP also are committed partners of the National Consumers League’s Script Your Future campaign, a public education campaign to raise awareness among patients about the consequences of not taking medication as directed. AACP recently co-sponsored the Script Your Future Medication Adherence Challenge, which engaged student pharmacists in raising public awareness about medication adherence.


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Mylan receives tentative approval for HIV/AIDS drug in developing countries

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a division of Mylan for a generic drug for treating HIV and AIDS in children in developing countries.

Mylan said Thursday that the FDA had tentatively approved Mylan Labs’ abacavir sulfate and lamivudine tablets in the 60 mg/30 mg strength. The drug is a generic version of Viiv Healthcare’s Epzicom and was approved under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The drug will only be available for purchase in certain developing countries outside the United States.

"The approval of abacavir sulfate and lamivudine further supports Mylan’s mission to continue expanding access to high-quality medicine around the world, which is especially crucial for children living with HIV/AIDS," Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said. "This product combines two medications in one tablet, which may support treatment adherence in children as it reduces the pill burden often associated with complex antiretroviral regimens."

 


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