PHARMACY

Medco brings SOCRxATES program to New Mexico

BY Alaric DeArment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions is implementing a program in New Mexico designed to close such medication-related gaps in health care as nonadherence among state employees with chronic conditions, the company said Wednesday.

Medco announced that it had brought its SOCRxATES program to the state, under a collaboration with the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, the New Mexico Pharmacists Association and several state authorities, including the State of New Mexico General Services Department, Risk Management Division, New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority, New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority and Albuquerque Public Schools. It originally launched the program in Illinois in 2009.

Medco found through research that more than 1,800 state employees, retirees and their dependents with chronic or complex conditions were not taking all the medicines they needed to stay healthy or following their doctors’ instructions.

“The SOCRxATES program addresses several vital aspects of real healthcare reform,” Medco chief medical officer Glen Stettin said. “It transforms traditional competitors into collaborators; creates a partnership across private business, public employers and local colleges of pharmacy; and leverages advanced pharmacy technology to efficiently identify and effectively close gaps in care for patients who are suffering chronic and complex conditions — patients who account for 96% of all drug costs and 75% of all medical spending.”

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PHARMACY

Walgreens, NMPG develop coordinated healthcare program

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group of Chicago on Wednesday announced a new coordinated healthcare program in which Walgreens will share the results of appropriately timed pharmacist clinical interventions with primary care physicians of selected patients.

“This relationship is a great example of how healthcare organizations can work together to improve patient care while also benefitting our healthcare system at large,” Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness Kermit Crawford said. “We’ve already seen cases that speak to the effectiveness of the program and further demonstrate the important role our expansive network of pharmacists can play in the future of healthcare delivery.”

The program is being implemented for Walgreens and Northwestern Memorial employees who have NMPG as their primary care provider and currently focuses on those with hypertension, diabetes, asthma and hyperlipidemia. Patients with these high-cost chronic disease states will receive point-of-care counseling or an intervention as part of the integrated services offered.

Information from interventions will be provided to each patient’s primary care physician, giving physicians access to important clinical information from Walgreens.

“This benefits those patients tremendously because now there’s a richer conversation with their primary doctor that is supported by the pharmacy documentation,” said Daniel Derman, president of NMPG and VP Northwestern Memorial. “It’s a more complete way of serving patients, and it’s particularly rewarding in this instance because those patients are also our employees.”

For each disease state, Walgreens pharmacists and NMPG physicians have collaboratively developed an intervention plan, with sessions comprised of a series of questions designed to maximize adherence and help patients best understand their disease.

“Many of our chronic disease patients tell us they see their pharmacist more often than they do their doctor,” Crawford said. “Giving physicians further insight into patient behaviors and working with them to spend more time talking with patients can help reduce healthcare costs and, more importantly, improve a patient’s overall health.”

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PHARMACY

Mylan subsidiary gets OK for generic Aricept

BY Allison Cerra

PITTSBURGH — Another generic drug maker has been given the green light to market its version of an Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

Mylan said that its subsidiary, Matrix Labs, has received final approval from the Food and Drug Administration to manufacture and market donepezil hydrochloride tablets in 5-mg and 10-mg strengths. The drug, a generic version of Pfizer and Eisai’s Aricept, is used to treat dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Mylan said it will launch the product immediately.

Such generic drug makers as Teva, Sandoz, Actavis and Ranbaxy all recently have received approval to market their version of the drug, which had U.S. sales of about $2.3 billion for the 12-month period ended in March.

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