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Lewis Drug adds new patient service

BY Brian Berk

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Lewis Drug will implement the iMedicare platform at its 45 pharmacy locations.

The iMedicare platform provides a software solution allowing customers to find and switch Medicare plans during the open enrollment period, and continues to offer the resource throughout the year.

"iMedicare has really streamlined the process of assisting patients with their Medicare Part D decision making. It has also been extremely helpful when trying to find a formulary alternative for certain medications that are not covered by a part D plan,” said Heather Storey, PharmD and Lead Clinical Pharmacist at Lewis Drug.

More than 5,000 pharmacies offer iMedicare as a patient service.

“We are honored to work with Lewis Drug to automate many of the time-consuming decision making processes related to Medicare,” said Flaviu Simihaian, CEO of iMedicare. “This is a critical time in the industry, and we at iMedicare use innovation to give pharmacies a tremendous advantage every day.”

Sioux Falls-based Lewis Drug pharmacies are located in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. 

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THE TAKEAWAY: NACDS’ Steve Anderson reflects on life, leadership and where he finds inspiration for both

BY DSN STAFF

Before you got into the association management business, you worked in government and even ran for Congress in 1980. What led you to politics, and what are one or two of the most important things that experience taught you?

I was 27 years old when I ran for Congress, so I was in my formative years. I learned that I could compete with anyone, despite my blue-collar background. However, I realized I don’t have all of the answers, and probably never will.

Before NACDS, you led the National Restaurant Association and spent 20 years with the American Frozen Food Institute before that. … How did those experiences help shape your leadership style?

In my 36 years of association work, 27 of them as a CEO, I’ve learned that I’m only one part of a diverse orchestra. It’s my job to get everyone who has something to offer to play off the same sheet of music and in harmony with great effectiveness.

You’re a fan and student of history. What do you like most about history? What is your favorite chapter in history? Why?

I’m writing a manuscript, maybe a book, about my ancestors, who I have traced back to the Battle of Brissarthe in 866 in the Frankish Kingdom. I’ve traced my direct descendants back to 1066, when they came to England from Normandy with William the Conqueror, to the first boat that arrived in the Province of Maryland, where they established a new colony in 1634 under Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore.

In your career, who was your most important mentor? What was the most important thing you learned from them?

My most important mentors in my career have been Congressman John B. Anderson, R-Ill., no relation, who brought me to Washington, D.C., and Tom House, CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute, who gave me my first association job and my first CEO position.

If you could be anywhere other than where you are right now, where would you be?

In my youth I studied piano for 10 years and voice for eight years. I would like to perform in any musical written by Stephen Sondheim, my favorite and the greatest composer in music theatre, starting with “Company,” “Follies,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Sunday in the Park with George.”

Where do you find inspiration in life?

I love to volunteer in leadership positions at colleges and universities where I have a family connection. I’m inspired by these students, who are competitive, ambitious, kind, smart and have a wonderful sense of awe and naiveté.

What are you most grateful for in life?

I’m most grateful for my family and my health. I’m amazed at my two millennial sons, Brandon and Britton, and what they have accomplished and what they will accomplish in the future.

Who was your first hero growing up? Why?

My first heroes were my parents. My dad had a high school education and worked his entire life in a factory. He supplemented his income by being a custodian. My mother had a college degree, plus a nursing degree. I learned how to work hard, have a healthy ambition and never forget where you come from.

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What to expect from a Trump White House

BY DSN STAFF

A return to big blockbuster drug introductions. A renewed focus on innovation. A more favorable climate for merger-and-acquisition activity. Those are some examples of what a Donald Trump White House could mean for the pharmaceutical industry, according to EP Vantage, the editorial arm of healthcare market intelligence firm Evaluate.

(Click here to view the full Category Review.)

“On the commercial front, many expect that the industry’s cautious stance adopted in 2016 amid wider political uncertainties will become more aggressive heading into 2017. That ought to translate into more corporate activity and bring investor cash into the sector,” a 2017 preview report from EP Vantage said. “With many companies remaining well-capitalized after the boom of 2014 and 2015, and financing easy to come by for the larger players, there is certainly the potential for pharma and biotech to experience something of a bounce next year.”

At the same time, one of the issues that EP Vantage noted is that “drug price scrutiny is not going away, and the pressure from payers across the globe is unlikely to abate.” Indeed, the question of drug prices is one that is top-of-mind for the heads of biopharmaceutical companies — and potentially the 45th president of the United States — as the Trump administration begins its work.

Though biotech stocks initially saw gains after Election Day, Allergan CEO Brent Saunders has been vocally less bullish, noting at the 2016 Forbes Healthcare Summit in December, “I worry today that the pharmaceutical industry has a very false sense of security because of the Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress.”

This is to say that, though Trump and congressional leaders have pledged to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the issue of drug prices is something Trump has interest in taking up, telling Time less than a week after Saunders’s comments, “I’m going to bring down drug prices.”

While the ways the new administration will address these issues have yet to be laid out, legislative efforts championed by the industry are expected to be taken up again. Among them are provider status for pharmacists and legislation focused on the speed of generic approvals. The QuintilesIMS Institute points out that generics will come to make up 92% of all prescriptions in the coming five years and reiterated that the average generic price is 60% to 70% below the bran price when introduced, eventually realizing an 80% to 90% difference in two to three years.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association is focused — in particular — on the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act, which has potential to allow sample sharing to facilitate faster generic development and which Sen. Chuck Grassley and others unsuccessfully tried to include as an amendment to the recenlty signed 21st Century Cures Act, and the Fair Access for Safe and Timely Generics Act, which would keep drug makers from restricting medication availability for testing by generics makers through Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies.

As the 21st Century Cures Act worked its way through Congress, the GPhA laid out its focus on the CREATES and FAST Generics Acts, stating, “We will continue working with Congress to find solutions to rising drug costs that bring safe and effective generic drugs to market more quickly and ensure more patients and payers have access to them.”

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