PHARMACY

Local e-prescribing initiative awarded for technology innovation

BY Antoinette Alexander

DETROIT In honor of its dedication to driving the adoption of e-prescribing technology in Michigan, the Southeast Michigan ePrescribing Initiative was presented with the 2010 Health Information Technology Innovation Leadership Award at the first annual Michigan HIT Leadership and Innovation Awards reception.

The award was instituted by the Michigan HIT Commission to acknowledge and promote the use of technology in Michigan’s healthcare system. The goal of the 2010 HIT Innovation Awards: To raise awareness of HIT use and recognize the professionals, organizations and facilities who have advocated or supported the advancement of HIT and Health Information Exchange within the state.

SEMI was launched in 2005 to promote e-prescribing among physicians in Southeast Michigan. It consists of a coalition including CVS Caremark, General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group, the United Auto Workers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Medical Group and Medco Health Solutions.

 

Through Dec. 31, 2009, nearly 5,000 physicians had enrolled in SEMI. Over that time period, these prescribers have generated more than 18.2 million e-prescriptions. An analysis of 12.4 million prescriptions written by SEMI physicians since the program began found the following:

  • Asevere or moderate drug-to-drug alert was sent to physicians for more than 3.5 million prescriptions (28%), resulting in nearly 1 million (33%) of those prescriptions being changed or canceled by the prescribing doctor;
  • Physicians received nearly 334,000 medication allergy alerts;
  • Nearly 1.5 million lists of dispensed prescription histories were downloaded by physicians; and
  • When a formulary alert was presented, 33% of the time the physician changed the prescription to comply with formulary requirements.

 

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CVS Caremark: Generic dispensing rates rise as plan member contributions drop

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark’s annual insights report revealed an increase in generic dispensing rates as plan member contributions declined.

According to the 2010 Insights Report, which provides an annual review of drug trend performance for the company’s PBM client segments, 2009 drug trends show that CVS Caremark clients were able to manage pharmacy costs in the midst of the economic recession without passing along added costs to their members. In addition, plan sponsors increased their overall use of generics. These factors helped plan sponsors manage their costs while minimizing out-of-pocket costs for their members.

“While each of our client segments had different approaches and leveraged different tools, they all shared a priority in 2009 — finding ways to manage pharmacy costs,” stated Per Lofberg, president of CVS Caremark’s PBM business. “In these challenging economic times we worked with our clients to implement plan designs that would enable them to continue to control pharmacy costs while still providing their members with access to the medications they need, programs to support medication adherence and opportunities for out-of-pocket savings.”

Plan sponsors made few changes to member contributions levels last year and member contributions actually declined from 19% in 2008 to 15.7% in 2009. In addition, plan sponsors embraced opportunities to educate their members about the benefits of generic medications and encourage their use. This resulted in the CVS Caremark Book of Business generic dispensing rate increasing to 68.2% from 65.1% in 2008, despite a lack of significant generic drug introductions in 2009.

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Sandoz launches generic Exelon

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. Sandoz has launched a version of a drug for treating dementia, the generics arm of Swiss drug maker Novartis said.

Sandoz announced the launch of rivastigmine tartrate capsules in the 1.5 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg, 4.5 mg and 6-mg strengths. The drug is used to treat mild to moderate dementia associated with Alzheimer’s and Parksinson’s diseases.

The drug is an authorized generic version of Novartis’ Exelon, which had sales of $132.7 million during the 12-month period ended in March, according to IMS Health.

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