Influences on allergy, cold and flu remedies
According to an August 2013 poll of 500 AccentHealth viewers, 95% indicate that they or someone in their household has suffered from cold, flu or allergies in the past 12 months. The overwhelming majority of those sufferers sought treatment of the ailment or its symptoms (99%) — mainly in the form of over-the-counter therapies (91%).
While product consideration at the shelf level remains a driving force behind purchase decisions, with 34% of respondents indicating that in-store browsing influences their purchase of OTCs, 40% of respondents specifically indicate that OTCs purchased to treat cold, flu and allergy in the prior 12 months were the result of a doctor or other practitioner (e,g., NP/PA) recommendation. This may explain why respondents similarly cite pharmacists and physicians as being their primary sources of information on OTC medications in the category.
In addition to recommendations from healthcare professionals, brand characteristics play an important role in treatment choice. Drivers when purchasing OTC remedies for cold, flu and allergy included onset of action, product cost and ease of use.
When it comes to where to shop, drug stores emerge as the most popular destination for cold, flu and allergy remedies among all respondents surveyed. Poll findings differ, however, among respondents in households with children — where mass merchandisers are used equally with drug stores. While 7-in-10 respondents typically purchase category OTCs at drug stores, 9-in-10 indicate they are likely to purchase cold, flu and allergy medications there in the future.
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Brenton Saunders tapped as new president, CEO of Forest Labs
NEW YORK — The former CEO of Bausch + Lomb has been appointed president and CEO of Forest Labs, the drug maker said Tuesday.
Forest announced that it had hired Brenton Saunders to head the company, effective Oct. 1. Saunders will replace Howard Solomon, who has served as a director of Forest since August 2011. Saunders is currently chairman of the board’s compensation committee and a member of its compliance committee and will step down from those roles once assuming the new position. Solomon will remain as non-executive chairman of the board through the company’s 2014 annual meeting of stockholders, when Saunders will become the new chairman.
"Forest is an outstanding company with outstanding people, products and prospects," Saunders said. "It is an honor to be asked to take over the role as CEO and president, and I look forward to getting started immediately."
Saunders served as Bausch + Lomb’s CEO from 2010 through last month. Before that, he served in several leadership positions at Schering-Plough Corp., from 2003 until 2009, when Merck acquired the company.
Hospital organization to launch new specialty pharmacy program
CHICAGO — An organization of nonprofit academic medical centers has created a new specialty pharmacy program that it said would improve continuity of care and improve access to specialty drugs.
UHC said it would unveil the program in late 2013 or early 2014 to provide patients with access to the specialty medications they need at the hospitals where they’re treated. Specialty pharmacy is one of the fastest-growing segments of health care, the group said, growing at more than 20% per year, but hospitals that need specialty drugs to perform procedures or treat patients fill less than 20% of prescriptions for them.
"The UHC specialty pharmacy program will help member hospitals and health systems succeed in an accountable care organization environment in which continuity of care must be available," UHC SVP supply chain Jake Groenewold said. "A patient’s healthcare team must coordinate care and services among inpatient settings, outpatient settings, infusion clinics and pharmacies."
The program includes a data repository that UHC will use to track patient outcomes using its access to the data and provide clinical evidence for promoting the best therapeutic regimens. UHC also will identify patients who have a failed or unsustainable response to therapy and would be good candidates for a newly approved medication.
The organization cited one example in which a patient’s copayment for a specialty drug more than tripled. While the patient waited for assistance from the drug company, the specialty pharmacy withheld the prescription. Her physician worked with the hospital pharmacist to assist the patient and found a cheaper generic, resulting in the patient missing only one day of medication treatment.