PHARMACY

Improving medication adherence is critical

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The CVS Caremark-sponsored study that illustrates pharmacists and nurses are the most effective healthcare "voice" in promoting medication adherence among patients is important because it marks the first step toward unlocking the potential of the collaborative care model (i.e., pharmacists and nurses), and getting those people who matter to pay attention.

(THE NEWS: Adherence is boosted by face-to-face contact, study finds. For the full story, click here)

The reality is that this message comes at a critical time. As the clock ticks away toward full implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, and with Republicans in the new Congress determined to repeal or at least replace the parts of it they don’t like — even if they can’t — there is going to be a greater focus on how all this extra health care is going to get paid for and what America is getting for its money.

As Troyen Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark and author of both reviews, stated, "These findings offer payers, healthcare providers and policy-makers guidance about how to develop programs that improve patient adherence. We know that pharmacists and nurses are among the most trusted healthcare professionals. This study shows that trust translates into effective patient communications."

Improving medication adherence is critical, and fixing it would mean closing a significant financial drain on the U.S. healthcare system. Nonadherence to medications costs the healthcare system up to $290 billion — yes, billion — a year because many of the hospitalizations can be avoided if patients take their medications as prescribed.

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PHARMACY

Marsh implements generic drug pricing offer

BY Michael Johnsen

INDIANAPOLIS — Marsh Supermarkets recently implemented a $3.99/$9.99 generic drug pricing offer for 30-day and 90-day prescriptions, respectively.

The program applies to a designated list of generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages (higher dosages cost more).

And it’s not the only pharmacy-oriented program being offered across many of the company’s 41 pharmacies. Marsh also is the exclusive supermarket supporting Project 18, a grassroots campaign to tackle childhood obesity. Developed by Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, Ball State University and Marsh Supermarkets, the program provides better eating choices and nutritional information for kids.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Watson oral contraceptive

BY Antoinette Alexander

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first and only low-dose oral contraceptive to combine 0.8-mg norethindrone and 0.025-mg ethinyl estradiol in a chewable form, with four 75-mg ferrous fumarate (iron) placebo tablets, Watson Pharmaceuticals has announced.

Watson’s new oral contraceptive is positioned as a novel alternative to currently available birth control pills, and the dosing combination and 24-day active hormone regimen is intended to provide users with a low level of breakthrough bleeding and short, light, predictable periods.

"The approval of this oral contraceptive further strengthens Watson’s robust and expanding branded Women’s Health portfolio," stated Fred Wilkinson, EVP global brands. "We believe this product is an important addition to the oral contraceptive category, and that its characteristics will make it a desirable choice for women."

The contraceptive product, licensed from a subsidiary of Warner Chilcott, will actively be marketed to physicians by Watson’s Global Brands division beginning in second quarter 2011.

The approval of the oral contraceptive is based on data from a 12-month, phase-3, multicenter, open-label study that evaluated the safety and efficacy of the product for pregnancy prevention. Among 1,251 women between the ages of 18 and 35 years who completed 12,297 treatment cycles, the pregnancy rate (Pearl Index) was 2.01 pregnancies per 100 women-years of treatment. In addition, women in the clinical trial reported short (mean duration of 3.7 days), predictable periods, with withdrawal bleeding beginning approximately on day 27 or 28.

The most common adverse reactions (>/= 2%) reported while taking the oral contraceptive in a clinical trial included nausea/vomiting (8.8%), headaches/migraine (7.5%), depression/mood complaints (4.1%), dysmenorrhea (3.9%), acne (3.2%), anxiety symptoms (2.4%), breast pain/tenderness (2.4%) and weight gain (2.3%).

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