PHARMACY

National Health Systems introduces pharmacy division aimed at independents

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT WORTH, Texas — The parent company of pharmacy software maker PDX has formed a new division to provide independent pharmacies with software and services, which it said would create portable, interoperable healthcare data.

National Health Systems announced Monday the creation of the Community Pharmacy Division within PDX and fellow NHS company National Health Information Network. The new offerings will allow independents’ patients to share electronic healthcare data with other pharmacies and their providers.

Though PDX will continue to offer support and enhancements to its Classic Pharmacy System, it also announced the new PDX Community Pharmacy System for independents, developed with technology used in the PDX Enterprise Pharmacy System and RapidFill, which is currently installed in more than 1,200 chain pharmacies and planned for an additional 3,200.

Features in the new system include the latest in prescription filling and pharmacy management technology; a patient-centric web engine for each pharmacy, hosted in the PDX data centers in Dallas and Forth Worth, Texas; an interface to the new Rx.com Community Healthcare Network and Rx.com CareRx Software; a new Nursing Home application; a new point-of-sale application; NHIH Community Pharmacy AssistRx Third-Party Reconciliation; and NHIN Community Pharmacy Access Data File Standardization.

"I started my career as a community pharmacist in a small, west Texas town and was the pharmacy consultant for both nursing homes in the little town, as well as the county hospital," NHS founder and chairman Ken Hill said. "Independent community pharmacists have always been involved in their communities, and there are almost 8,000 rural communities that do not have a major drug chain offering retail clinic healthcare services within 100 miles of them. I firmly believe that the independent community pharmacies in these towns can and will develop healthcare centers to service patients in their areas with vaccinations, MTM services and so on, including lab services in some cases and chronic disease care plans that payers are already implementing in many urban populations."

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Calif. governor should veto biosimilar bill, GPhA’s Ralph Neas writes

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A trade group of generic drug makers is hoping that California’s governor vetoes a bill that it says would restrict patients’ access to biosimilars.

In an op-ed published Friday in the San Jose, Calif., Mercury News, Generic Pharmaceutical Association president and CEO Ralph Neas wrote that the bill, S.B. 598, which the legislature passed last month, would cause the state to miss out on the more than $27.6 billion in savings over the next decade that pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts estimates could be had if the state’s healthcare system had full access to biosimilars.

"Unless Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes a bill that would restrict future access to biosimilar medicines, Californians are at risk of becoming pawns in the self-serving efforts of large biotech companies to protect profits at the expense of patients," Neas wrote.

Click here to read the full letter.

 

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New York Times analysis touts generic drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — An analysis by the New York Times published over the weekend makes the case for generic drugs.

Times reporter Katie Thomas opened the analysis Saturday by recalling an episode of the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black," in which the prison saves money by switching inmates to generic drugs, much to their dismay. But that bit of artistic license on the part of the show’s writers is evidence of the negative perceptions of generic drugs among the public.

Thomas noted that though generics are perceived as a greater value than their branded counterparts, patients mostly prefer the latter, according to some studies. But while Food and Drug Administration regulations require that generics be equivalent to and interchangeable with branded drugs — and by all accounts generic drug companies have followed those regulations — Thomas cited such issues as Ranbaxy Labs’ manufacturing problems and the equivalence issues with a dosage of a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s Wellbutrin (bupropion hydrochloride) as giving some people the idea that generics were inferior to branded drugs.

But those are isolated incidents, rather than evidence of a larger problem. Overall, as IMS Health data have shown over the years, generic drugs have saved the country’s healthcare system — and consumers — about $1 trillion over the past decade.

Click here to read Thomas’ analysis.

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