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Health benefits important to personal product purchasers

BY DSN STAFF

Health benefits are among the top characteristics playing a role in personal product selection, according to an online survey of almost 700 AccentHealth viewers conducted in April. More than three-quarters of shoppers consider the health benefits when buying a health, beauty or hygiene product.

To see more Patient Views, click here

Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine, as well as the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 6,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected].

 

Source: AccentHealth. To view the demographic breakdown of participants, click here.

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Walgreens pharmacist interventions help improve compliance to newer ‘triple therapy’ hepatitis C treatment

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — More than two-thirds of patients with hepatitis C achieved sustained virologic response or cure after completing newer “triple therapy” treatment, according to a Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy study released Friday. 

Two years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two new protease inhibitors, telaprevir and boceprevir, which help prevent the virus from reproducing. When used in combination with peginterferon and ribavirin, the new medications significantly increased the cure rate and cut treatment time in half. Typically taken for 24 weeks or longer, the triple therapy regimen can cause significant side effects.

Even though the therapy may be life-saving, many patients have a difficult time completing the treatment due to the side effects and because they usually don’t feel sick when they have HCV. This makes pharmacist follow-up and support particularly important.

All patients who receive their HCV medications through Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy are included in the ConnectedCare program, which provides pharmacist-led support and guidance to help patients complete therapy. ConnectedCare features extensive patient education, screening for potential health concerns — including anemia and depression — regular medication counseling, awareness of possible insurance and financial assistance options and round-the-clock access to pharmacists.

“Our pharmacists and staff work diligently to help assess barriers to adherence and concerns associated with this condition,” stated Richard Miller, director of clinical services for Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy. “As integral members of our patient’s health care team, we are committed to providing ongoing support and education.” 

The Walgreens study included 406 HCV patients who received triple therapy with either telaprevir or boceprevir. Six months after completion of the treatment, 272 patients (67%) achieved SVR. Additionally, the adherence rate was above 90% for all of the medications. 

Before the FDA approved the new medications, patients with HCV-1 (the most common genotype) were prescribed dual therapy with peginterferon and ribavirin for 48 weeks, resulting in an SVR rate of 38% to 46%.

 

 

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Gimme that old-time prescription: 175-year-old pharmacy mixes old-fashioned business with new ideas

BY Alaric DeArment

Long Island University gave its Distinguished Alumnus award to C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries owner Ian Ginsberg, a 1985 graduate of the university’s pharmacy school.

C.O. Bigelow isn’t just any drug store – it’s the oldest one in the country, having been founded in 1838. Ginsberg’s family has owned it since his grandfather, William Ginsberg, bought it in 1939. So, as one might ask a centenarian, what’s C.O. Bigelow’s secret?

Customers of the store, tucked away in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, have included Mark Twain, Thomas Edison and Eleanor Roosevelt, while legendary punk rock band The New York Dolls and filmmaker John Waters frequented the soda fountain. Indeed, the pharmacy’s role in the city’s history could be compared with another old-time business nearby, McSorley’s Old Ale House, a fixture since 1854 that has entertained such luminaries as Abraham Lincoln and The Great Houdini with its homemade beer.

Bigelow has made a slogan for itself, "If you can’t find it anywhere else, try Bigelow." That’s because a big part of the store’s business consists of high-end beauty and personal care products, often natural and organic or largely unavailable in the United States, such as Marvis toothpaste and Proraso shaving cream from Italy, La Creme Opalis conditioner and Les Fleurs de Bach perfume from France, as well as a large white-label business. Ginsberg also found recipes for 19th century balms, lotions and other products in the company’s archives, and in 2003 signed a deal with Bath & Body Works to market them in the chain’s stores.

At a time when pharmacy retailers are looking to distinguish themselves in order to drive greater customer traffic, Bigelow is showing that it’s known all along that standing out is the best way to be noticed, and providing high-quality and distinctive products is the best way to keep the people who notice the store coming in on a regular basis. Considering that the store’s customers in recent years have included the likes of Susan Sarandon, Calvin Klein and Elvis Costello, it looks like the strategy is working.

 

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