PHARMACY

NACDS Foundation: Patient care database more than doubled in size

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A free, publicly accessible and searchable healthcare resource developed last year by the charitable arm of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores dramatically has grown since its inception.

The NACDS Foundation said its patient care database — which seeks to provide a convenient portal to information on pharmacist-provided patient care services beyond dispensing prescription medications — has more than doubled in size. NACDS Foundation president Edith Rosato said the database’s growth “runs parallel to the public’s own desire, interest and demand for information that empowers their healthcare decisions.”

NACDS Foundation’s patient care database can be accessed here.

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Enbrel helps improve conditions of psoriasis patients, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A drug used to treat inflammatory diseases improved the conditions of patients with psoriasis that affected the scalp compared with placebo, according to results of a new study.

Amgen and Pfizer on Friday announced the results of the phase-4 study of Enbrel (etanercept), in patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis with scaling on the scalp, also known as scalp involvement. Data from the trial will be presented Friday at the 69th annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in New Orleans.

The 121-patient trial divided patients into Group A, which received 50-mg of Enbrel twice weekly for 12 weeks followed by the same dosage once weekly for another 12 weeks, and Group B, which received a placebo for 12 weeks followed by Enbrel twice a week for another 12 weeks. Among the patients, 87% of those in Group A showed improvement in scalp involvement after the first 12 weeks, compared with 20% of those in Group B.

“At least half of people with plaque psoriasis have involvement on their scalp, which may contribute to feelings of embarrassment associated with this condition,” said Jerry Bagel, lead study author and medical director of the Psoriasis Treatment Center of Central New Jersey. “These data reinforce the efficacy and safety profile of Enbrel for adult patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis with scalp involvement.”

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MTM could take chunk out of the $290 billion in annual healthcare costs

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., argued before the Senate Thursday around the value that increased access to medication therapy management can deliver to overall health care — that includes cutting into the $290 billion in annual costs associated with medication nonadherence and preventing as many as 89,000 premature deaths.

“With as much as one-half of all patients [in the United States] not following doctor’s orders regarding their medications, medication therapy management could help reduce some of the wasted healthcare costs in our system,” Hagan said.

Pointing to the well-known Asheville Project, Hagan noted that medical costs have decreased among patients participating in that program by between $1,600 and $3,300 per year. In addition, there are 50% fewer sick days taken by participants, which translates into increased productivity gains of some $18,000 annually.

“The bill I am reintroducing today takes MTM one step further,” Hagan said. “Specifically, [the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011] would expand MTM eligibility to seniors with any chronic condition that accounts for high spending in our healthcare system, such as heart failure and diabetes.” Hagan concluded, “Expansion of MTM to more seniors will no doubt improve their overall health, while at the same time reducing waste in our healthcare system.”

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