PHARMACY

MinuteClinic seeks to expand its presence in the healthcare world

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. New healthcare legislation, the aging U.S. population and a shortage of primary care physicians will equal significant growth for CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic business. In fact, the clinic operator is looking to double its number of in-store clinics within five years, according to a Bloomberg report.

"There will be a gap in the number of providers available in an already constrained system," CVS Caremark CFO Dave Denton told Bloomberg in a phone interview. "Our MinuteClinics are a very nice complement to that environment. We will easily double the number of clinics and maybe even more than that."

 

MinuteClinic currently has 500 locations in 25 states, making it the largest such provider.

 

The company will bolster the number of in-store clinics as baby boomers reach Medicare age and 32 million individuals are added to insurance rolls following passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last month, Denton told Bloomberg.

Denton also told Bloomberg that it will increase the number of services provided at MinuteClinic. The additional services will be geared toward patients with chronic illnesses, but Denton declined to elaborate.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, MinuteClinic already has announced the introduction of new health condition monitoring services for patients with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and asthma. The new monitoring services are called Monitoring Made Easy.

 

Bloomberg also reached out to Take Care Health Systems, which operates 359 clinics and is owned by Walgreens, and Walmart, which also provides in-store health clinics, but they declined to comment on specific expansion plans.

 

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FDA tentatively approves Sun’s Namenda generic

BY Alaric DeArment

MUMBAI, India The Food and Drug Administration has given tentative approval to a generic Alzheimer’s disease drug made by Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Sun announced Saturday.

The FDA gave the tentative approval to Sun’s memantine tablets in the 5-mg and 10-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Forest Labs’ Namenda, which has annual U.S. sales of around $1.2 billion, according to Sun.

A tentative approval means that a generic drug meets the FDA’s conditions for approval, but the agency cannot grant final approval until the branded drug’s patents expire. Forest’s patent for Namenda expires in April 2015, according to FDA data.

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Meijer offering free metformin to customers

BY Allison Cerra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Meijer announced plans Monday to begin offering metformin immediate release, one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for Type 2 diabetes, at no cost to those with a prescription.

Meijer’s program — which will include doses prescribed in 500-mg, 850-mg and 1,000-mg tablets — joins other Meijer healthy-living initiatives designed to provide no-cost medicine to shoppers, including such initiatives as free children’s antibiotics and prenatal vitamins for women with a prescription. To date, Meijer has filled more than 5 million free antibiotic prescriptions, and more than 500,000 prescriptions for free prenatal vitamins. Combined, Meijer has provided a total cost savings to consumers of more than $90 million.

Meijer is one of several store chains that recently has announced free metformin offerings for customers. Last month, Publix launched a multifaceted program designed to assist customers and associates living with diabetes.

“Meijer is pleased to add metformin immediate release to our free medication program,” said Effie Steele, clinical services coordinator for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer. “As our population ages, Type 2 diabetes cases continue to grow. Adding metformin immediate release to Meijer’s free medication program, while providing other ways to manage diabetes through the various healthy living solutions offered in our stores, reinforces our commitment to promote healthy lifestyles for all of our customers.”

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