Independents increase role in promoting adherence, generics
ORLANDO, Fla. — Independent pharmacies are focusing more on helping patients adhere to their medication therapies and save money by using generics, according to a new digest for members of a trade group that represents independents.
The National Community Pharmacists Association, in its 2013 NCPA Digest, found that 48% of all community pharmacies offer patients adherence counseling services, up from 39% in the last survey. Meanwhile, the percentage of community pharmacies providing adherence phone calls or text messages increased from 22% to 39%. Independents also dispensed generic drugs 77% of the time; their pharmacists routinely consult with physicians about proper prescription drug therapy, and pharmacists’ recommendations for generic drug use are accepted 83% of the time. The total number of independent pharmacies in the country is estimated at 23,029, from 23,106 last year.
The digest was sponsored by Cardinal Health and is available to NCPA members.
Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card, released earlier this year, found that on average, Americans ages 40 years and older with a chronic condition earned a C+ on average, while one-in-seven in that group received an F.
"Independent community pharmacists are playing a larger role than ever in improving health and cutting costs through the promotion of medication adherence and proper use of generic medicines," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "The digest reinforces the value and diverse nature of the care provided by trusted, community pharmacists. Small business community pharmacy owners and pharmacists look forward to continuing to work to help policymakers and health plan sponsors enhance patient outcomes and reduce expenses."
Other findings included that a majority of prescriptions came from Medicare and Medicaid — 33% and 18%, respectively — and that 53% of independents are in areas with populations of 20,000 or less, making them an important lifeline for underserved and rural areas.
"Cardinal Health is proud to again sponsor the 2013 NCPA Digest, a comprehensive report to help pharmacy owners make smarter business decisions," Cardinal Health VP retail marketing Ron Clerico said. "We realize that community pharmacists play a unique role in helping improve our nation’s healthcare system."
Wegmans offers prescription shipping service, ideal for snowbirds
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans recently extended its pharmacy reach beyond its store base with a service many of its snowbird patients may find appealing.
Not only will Wegmans process a refill online, they will now ship it to a verified patient anywhere in the United States. So seniors who head south for the winter can now maintain continuity with filling their prescriptions through the same pharmacy.
Standard delivery (five to 10 business days) is free; express delivery (one to two days) is $18.95.
AstraZeneca buys Spirogen for up to $440 million
LONDON — AstraZeneca has acquired a British developer of biotech drugs for treating cancer, AstraZeneca said Tuesday.
The company said its MedImmune subsidiary had acquired privately held Spirogen and also entered into a collaboration with ADC Therapeutics to develop two of ADC’s antibody-drug conjugate programs, currently in pre-clinical development. MedImmune will make an equity investment in ADC, which has an existing licensing agreement with Spirogen.
Under the Spirogen deal, MedImmune will acquire all shares of Spirogen for $200 million upfront and up to $240 million in milestone payments. MedImmune will also pay $20 million for the equity investment in ADC, matched by Auven Therapeutics, which is the majority shareholder in ADC and Spirogen.