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Hi-res imaging technology enables Rx verification

BY Alaric DeArment

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference in Boston will feature a multitude of suppliers showcasing everything from new drugs and devices to online services and pharmacy automation equipment. Among those suppliers is Innovation, which will display its latest machine for automating the counting and processing of medications, after having showed it at Cardinal Health’s Retail Business Conference in Las Vegas last month.


Innovation describes the PharmAssist OPTIx — part of its broader PharmAssist product line of pharmacy automation equipment — as countertop optical counting and imaging technology that is a “great fit” for any type of pharmacy, counting medicines in up to 200 milliseconds with an accuracy rate of 99.9%. “OPTIx combines tremendous counting speed and accuracy with high-resolution imaging and quality checks to enable pharmacies to increase throughput, provide the highest level of patient safety and perform remote prescription verification,” Innovation EVP global business development Doyle Jensen told Drug Store News. “Using OPTIx, pharmacies can employ lower-paid pharmacy techs to fill prescriptions, which frees up their pharmacists to perform other tasks and engage customers. After filling, techs can facilitate remote verification by using OPTIx to take a high-resolution image of each prescription’s vial contents and vial label.”


The device works by taking a high-resolution image of each prescription’s vial contents and label, and displaying them on a designated pharmacist’s workstation, thus enabling remote prescription verification — onsite or offsite — through comparison with images in a drug database.

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ScriptPro unveils compact dispensing technology

BY Alaric DeArment

MISSION, Kan. — Often smaller, less busy stores don’t have space for large robotic dispensing machines.


Enter ScriptPro. The Mission, Kan.-based pharmacy technology provider is unveiling its new Compact Robotic System at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference in Boston. The CRS is designed for small and medium-sized pharmacies whose space limitations would make larger systems impractical.


“It uses the same dispensing technology [and] the same user interface, look and feel as our larger systems,” ScriptPro president and CEO Mike Coughlin told Drug Store News. “It’s really just a matter of moving robotics technology down to the middle and lower end of the bell curve of volume.”


Another new product from ScriptPro is the Third Party Management System, a software application that allows pharmacies to evaluate and track the performance of contracts from such third parties as payers and wholesalers. TPMS also will help pharmacies to more efficiently and profitably participate in the government’s 340B program, whereby healthcare institutions buy drugs at deeply discounted rates to provide to needy patients.

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M&A: Multitudinous and ample

BY Alaric DeArment

The final outcome of the battle between Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International to buy Cephalon serves as a good illustration of why it helps to have a plan B.


In May, Teva beat out Valeant’s $5.7 billion offer to buy Frazier, Pa.-based Cephalon with a $6.8 billion offer of its own, acquiring Cephalon’s hefty pipeline in the process. And last month, Teva bought Taiyo Pharmaceutical Industry, Japan’s third-largest generics company, for $934 million.


It’s been some time since an acquisition on the scale of Pfizer’s purchase of Wyeth has occurred, but there still are plenty of mergers and acquisitions to go around. 


Valeant has gone ahead with other acquisitions in order to position itself as a leading skin care company. At the end of June, it bought the rights to Elidel (pimecrolimus) and Xerese (acyclovir and hydrocortisone), treatments for eczema and cold sores, respectively, from Sweden’s Meda for $76 million up front. Last month, it spent $425 million to buy Dermik, Sanofi’s skin care business. Shortly thereafter, it bought Ortho Dermatologics, Johnson & Johnson’s skin care subsidiary, for $345 million.


In June, Endo Pharmaceuticals bought American Medical Systems, a device manufacturer focused on male and female pelvic health, for $2.9 billion. Then, last month, Bristol-Myers Squibb purchased San Diego-based Amira Pharmaceuticals, which makes drugs for inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, for $325 million up front. Also last month, Perrigo, a manufacturer of generic prescription and OTC drugs, closed its acquisition of Paddock Labs, a company that makes similar products, for $540 million. The Federal Trade Commission required Perrigo to divest a small handful of Paddock’s drugs, which it would sell to Watson Pharmaceuticals.


Pfizer — which earlier this year plunked down $3.6 billion to buy King Pharmaceuticals, a Bristol, Tenn.-based company specializing in pain drugs — announced last month it would buy Icagen, another developer of pain drugs in which Pfizer already owned an 11% stake, for $56 million.

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