PHARMACY

Kerr Drug expands central fill model

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. — Kerr Drug will use its partnership with PDX and ScriptPro to increase pharmacy productivity by expanding its central fill model, the regional pharmacy chain said Thursday.

Kerr announced the opening of its central fill operation in Raleigh, N.C.

"It’s not just about labor savings, inventory reductions and other efficiencies," Kerr CEO Tony Civello said. "These kinds of innovations and use of technologies are critical to remaining a player in the emerging healthcare ecosystem."

The chain said its pharmacists would be enabled to deploy their skills in MTM, medication adherence, preventive care and patient education. Civello said Kerr would leverage its central fill capability with additional programs such as medication synchronization for chronic medications.

"Our world has been expanding beyond the dispensing model for some time," Civello said. "Pharmacists will become a much larger part of the healthcare provider team, and central fill allows our pharmacists the time they need out front, with the patients. We expect huge dividends in patient adherence, as well as [return on investment] from the technology itself."


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PHARMACY

Patient follow-up could reduce complications with medication side effects, study finds

BY Jason Owen

QUEBEC — Researchers in Canada found that pharmacists who call their patients after a prescription has been filled can help reduce and manage adverse drug reactions for those patients.

The researchers used automated calls to follow-up with 629 patients at family practices in Quebec three days and then again 17 days after a presciption was filled with four simple "yes-or-no" questions.

The study helped to identify 46% of adverse drug reactions by those patients and influenced how 40% of those were managed by the healthcare professional, the researchers noted in Monday’s online issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

"The system is identifying the patient who has a problem, the pharmacist is talking to them and they change their prescription in such a way that the patient can continue to take the medications or take an alternative medication," said study author Dr. Alan Forster, scientific director of performance measurement at the Ottawa Hospital.

It’s the first time that automated calls have been used to help patients this way, Forster added.

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CMS study further proof community pharmacy can improve patients’ lives, says NACDS

BY Jason Owen

ARLINGTON, Va. — National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) president and CEO Steve Anderson, calls a new study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “further proof of community pharmacy’s ability to improve patients’ lives while making healthcare more affordable in this country.”

CMS yesterday released “Medication Therapy Management (MTM) in a Chronically Ill Population: Interim Report.” The study describes reduced prescription drug costs and hospitalization costs among patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who were newly enrolled in a Medicare Part D MTM program in 2010.

MTM is a methodical approach to improving medication use and reducing the risk of adverse events that has been advanced substantially by the increasingly patient-centered focus of pharmacy education and by pharmacists’ increasing recognition for medication expertise.

“This CMS study shows yet again that public and private payers who pursue pharmacist-provided MTM are on the right track for improving the effectiveness, quality and affordability of patient care,” Anderson said. “This is exactly why NACDS has focused on the priority of further advancing MTM through legislation and raising awareness of its value within the private sector. When it comes to patient care and smarter approaches to healthcare, MTM is a winner.”

The CMS study said, “In comparison to Medicare beneficiaries with CHF or COPD who did not receive any MTM services in 2010, those who were enrolled in MTM programs – particularly those who received annual CMRs [comprehensive medication reviews – experienced significant improvements in the quality of their drug regimens.”

In the 112th Congress, NACDS supported legislation to improve Medicare’s MTM benefit, and efforts already are underway to marshal support for such a legislative initiative in the current 113th Congress.

“Community pharmacies are widely recognized for their core function of helping patients use medicines safely and stay healthy,” Anderson said. “Innovative pharmacy services – including MTM – do even more to improve health, quality of life and healthcare affordability. This is particularly true for many Americans in the greatest need.”

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