PHARMACY

NACDS reaches out to Sebelius about state Medicaid program expansion

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Shortly after Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius reached out to state governors about extending their Medicaid programs, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores sent a letter to Sebelius emphasizing the importance of expanding patient access to prescription drugs and pharmacy services to cut healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes.

“We have spoken with many governors and state Medicaid directors, and [we] share their concerns about the current economic climate and the pressure that the Medicaid program places on state budgets," the NACDS letter stated. "We have worked with states to put cost-effective best practices in place to control prescription drug costs, such as increasing generic utilization, expanding the use of e-prescribing and other technologies, and improving medication adherence as a means to reduce more costly medical interventions, such as doctor visits and hospital stays.”

Click here to view the full letter.

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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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