PHARMACY

MinuteClinic surpasses 10 millionth patient visit mark

BY Allison Cerra

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — MinuteClinic has surpassed 10 million patient visits since opening its doors in 2000.

The retail clinic operator, which is owned by CVS Caremark, said that the 10 millionth patient was seen at a clinic in Quincy, Mass., one of the communities where MinuteClinic has opened new locations in the past 18 months.

CVS Caremark said that MinuteClinic, which opened its first retail-based clinic in Minneapolis more than a decade ago, is on track to open 100 new MinuteClinic locations annually for the next five years — a total of 39 new clinics were opened in the first half of this year.

Additionally, MinuteClinic continues to broaden its reach with clinical affiliations with various healthcare systems across the United States, including the Henry Ford Health System of Detroit, OhioHealth, Cleveland Clinic Florida and northern Virginia healthcare provider Inova Health System.

"We have accelerated our patient visit growth by developing new services and expanding our clinic footprint," said Andrew Sussman, MinuteClinic president, SVP and associate chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. "MinuteClinic was founded on the principle of providing convenient, high-quality care, and patient awareness is growing. This milestone demonstrates how innovation coupled with evidence-based treatment can make basic medical services more convenient and affordable for millions of Americans."

In related news, MinuteClinic nurse practitioner Cindy Gleeson, based in Charlotte, N.C., will receive the Retail Clinician/CCA Unsung Hero Award for clinical excellence at this year’s Retail Clinician Education Congress, which is being held in Orlando, Fla., this week. Additionally, Sussman will receive the CARE Leadership Award for his contributions to the industry and his work to improve patient healthcare delivery as a member of the physician community.

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Specialty pharmacy group urges regulators to oppose ESI-Medco acquisition

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The ink has barely dried on the acquisition agreement between pharmacy benefit management giants Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, but several groups already are seeing smudges — most recently, a trade organization representing independent specialty pharmacy providers.

On Monday, the Independent Specialty Pharmacy Coalition urged the Federal Trade Commission to block Express Scripts’ $29.1 billion acquisition of Medco, saying the two PBMs’ large specialty pharmacy businesses would create a "clear conflict of interest with their drug authorization duties as a pharmacy benefit manager." The ISPC said they had not lowered drug costs as a result of controlling specialty pharmacies, but instead used their control of them to prevent customers from using the pharmacies of their choosing.

"Allowing any PBM to acquire a dominant position in the specialty drug market will be a giant step backward in our nation’s efforts to improve health care and manage drug costs," ISPC executive director Russell Gay said. "This proposed deal poses tremendous risk to all consumers, especially those dependent on vital specialty drugs."

The ISPC’s statement follows a joint statement on July 21 by the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores that the Medco-ESI deal would "exacerbate PBMs’ detrimental effect on pharmacy patient care" and that it would create "a middle man that is too big to play fair and will have immense power to unfairly dominate the market."

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Federal court upholds Lilly patent

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal court has upheld Eli Lilly’s patent covering a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Lilly said Friday.

Lilly said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey that had invalidated Lilly’s patent for Strattera (atomoxetine) in a patent infringement case that Lilly had filed against generic drug maker Actavis, when the latter sought regulatory approval for a generic version of Strattera.

"We are pleased with today’s ruling from the Court of Appeals regarding Strattera’s method-of-use patent and remain confident that the patent is valid and enforceable," Lilly SVP and general counsel Robert Armitage said. "In overturning the prior district court ruling, we believe that the court fairly applied long-standing patent law principles."

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