PHARMACY

FDA approves Lupin’s Seroquel XR generic

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved Lupin’s generic of AstraZeneca’s Zeroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate) extended-release tablets.

The drug is indicated to treat schizophrenia, acute manic or mixed bipolar I disorder on its own or as an adjunctive treatment to lithium or divalproex, acute depressive disorders in bipolar disorder, maintenance treatment of bipolar I, as an adjunctive treatment to lithium or divalproex and as an adjunctive treatment to antidepressants for the treating major depressive disorder.

Lupin’s generic will be available in 50-, 150-, 200-, 300- and 400-mg dosage strengths. Seroquel XR had U.S. sales of $1.27 billion for the 12 months ended March 2017, according to QuintilesIMS data.

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PQA issues quality awards to eight Medicare plans

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Pharmacy Quality Alliance on Thursday announced eight Medicare plans received PQA Quality Awards for high achievement or significant improvement in PQA measures of medication safety and appropriate use. Six plans received the PQA Excellence in Quality Award and two plans received PQA's Quality Improvement Award during PQA's 12th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

"These awards are unique in that they are based solely on publicly available quality scores," stated Laura Cranston, executive director PQA. "The effective use of medications is a top issue for all care providers, and it is extremely important within the Medicare Part D program. PQA recognizes these plans for the high level of medication management performance in the care of their Medicare members," she said. "The excellence and improvement set forth in the criteria for these two distinct awards are achieved through careful and deliberate strategies and interventions executed by the plans and their partners in the medication management of patients."

The 2017 PQA Excellence in Quality Award recognizes the highest level of combined achievement in overall performance and medication-use quality. Recipients achieved an overall summary rating of at least 4.5 stars, a 5-star rating on four or more of the PQA medication measures used within the CMS Medicare Star Ratings program and a 4-star rating on the fifth PQA medication measure.  

 
This year's Excellence in Quality Award recipients are:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Northern Plains Alliance;
  • Erickson Advantage, a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Plan;
  • Kaiser Permanente California Regions;
  • Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic Region;
  • Kaiser Permanente Northwest Region; and
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plans (multiple states).

The 2017 PQA Quality Improvement Awardrecognizes the highest improvement in medication safety and appropriate use. The Quality Improvement Award does not take into consideration the plan's overall summary rating. Instead, awardees must have received a 5-star rating on the CMS Quality Improvement measure and the greatest combined improvement from 2016 to 2017 on PQA measures used within the CMS Medicare Part D Star Ratings program.
 
This year's award recipients are Blue Cross Blue Shield Northern Plains Alliance and UnitedHealthcare AARP MedicareComplete Medicare Advantage Plans (Texas).

This is the seventh year that PQA, a consensus-based, multi-stakeholder organization, has recognized health plans for achievements in Medicare prescription services and excellence in appropriate and safe medication use.
 
 

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Meijer opens first upper peninsula stores

BY Brian Berk

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer on Thursday opened new supercenters in Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie today, marking the retailer's first stores in Michigan's upper peninsula. The 192,000-sq.-ft. stores bring shoppers a “one-stop shopping experience” that features “high-quality” merchandise, grocery delivered daily and a full-service pharmacy that makes family health care a priority.

With 113 stores throughout Michigan, the new upper peninsula locations are built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards and are the latest in a $375 million investment this year that includes the construction of seven new Meijer supercenters and remodel projects for 22 additional stores in Indianapolis, IllinoisMichiganOhio and Kentucky. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based family-owned retailer, which opened its first store in 1934, now has more than 230 stores throughout the Midwest.

"It is truly a proud day for us to cross the bridge into the upper peninsula and bring the Meijer experience to shoppers in Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie," co-chairman Hank Meijer said. "Since opening our first store in Greenville, Mich., 83 years ago, we've always strived to bring stores to communities looking for a one-stop shopping experience. We're looking forward to providing our new neighbors the service, quality, selection and low prices that Meijer customers have come to expect."

In addition to the retailer's traditional grocery and merchandise, garden center, and 24-hour gas station at each store, the Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie pharmacies will feature a drive-thru pick up and the company's free prescription program. The prescription program includes leading oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on prescriptions most often filled for children, prenatal vitamins, and medications for those with diabetes and high cholesterol. Since its inception in 2006, the program has filled more than 38 million free prescriptions, saving Meijer customers more than $516 million. 

The stores also demonstrated their commitment to the community by making donations to local organizations. Store director Sandy Molosky presented $25,000 to the Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools to help support its Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Program. Escanaba Store Director Jeff Rietzman presented $25,000 to the Escanaba Area Public Schools to help upgrade playgrounds and athletic facilities.

As part of its grand opening celebration, the new Meijer locations will feature a variety of events beginning Sunday, May 21. The first 200 customers to enter the store after 6 a.m. on May 21 will receive a Meijer mystery gift card with a value of $5, $10 or $20.

"Our teams have exceeded expectations every step of the way as we prepared for these openings," Meijer president and CEO Rick Keyes said. "Our top priority is to serve customers, and we're ready to provide our upper peninsula neighbors the shopping experience they deserve."

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