PHARMACY

NCPA, AADE offer diabetes education program for pharmacists

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A program developed by the National Community Pharmacists Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators seeks to educate pharmacists on how to help teach patients to better manage their diabetes.

The Diabetes Accreditation Standards-Practical Applications program will be offered four times this year, the first one being held at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego Jan. 21 to 23, the groups said.

The DASPA program — which is divided into two parts, one online and one live — was developed last year to train pharmacists looking to establish a diabetes self-management education/training program and to accredit those programs via the Diabetes Education Accreditation Program. In the past, DSME/T services were limited to hospital settings, the groups noted.

“Diabetes affects 23.6 million Americans, with 57 million having prediabetes, so everything possible needs to be done to address this health crisis,” said Robert Greenwood, NCPA president and a pharmacy owner. “Pharmacists provide patients with diabetes prescription drugs, testing supplies, counseling and therapeutic shoes, but the missing component is teaching patients how to undergo the lifestyle changes that can make a difference. That is why we are offering four DASPA programs this year.”

More information about how you can take advantage of this opportunity now is available at NCPAnet.org/index.php/events/daspa, or by calling (800) 544-7447, ext. 2670.

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Merck to develop biosimilars with Parexel

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Drug maker Merck and drug industry services organization Parexel International will work together to develop biosimilars, the two said Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Parexel will give Merck BioVentures access to clinical and regulatory services for the development of biosimilars. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Parexel has extensive, industry-leading experience with biosimilar development, and we truly understand the scientific complexities and regulatory pathways involved,” Parexel chairman and CEO Josef von Rickenbach said. “We are committed to working with Merck BioVentures to assist in advancing its biosimilar portfolio in this rapidly developing market segment for the benefit of patients worldwide.”

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Walgreens encourages mail-order pharmacy patients to make the switch

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — It seems that many mail-order pharmacy patients are unaware that they can receive their 90-day supply of prescription medications at community pharmacies.

Walgreens on Wednesday said that among 1,000 consumers surveyed by Echo Research between Dec. 10 and Dec. 20, 2010, nearly half of mail-order pharmacy users believed that mail is their only option to receive 90-day prescriptions. What’s more, the drug store chain noted, two-thirds of 30-day chronic medication users said they would be "extremely or very likely to switch" to 90-day supplies at their community pharmacies if given the option.

These results have prompted Walgreens to launch an initiative to encourage eligible prescription customers to transfer their prescriptions to community pharmacies. Walgreens’ Go 90 program "will inform eligible patients that they can receive a 90-day medication supply from their trusted community pharmacist," according to the drug store chain’s president and CEO, Greg Wasson.

Last year, the drug store chain announced a partnership with pharmacy benefit manager Navitus Health Solutions to help pharmacy benefit management clients save on prescription costs with a 90-day supply option at community pharmacies. The program resulted in $3.3 million in savings over a seven-month period, Walgreens said back in November.

“By offering payers programs that leverage our 90-day supply at retail capability, which reduces overall health costs and improves health outcomes, we continue to demonstrate our unique set of pharmacy, health-and-wellness solutions,” said Walgreens health-and-wellness division president Hal Rosenbluth. “As we provide additional tangible savings results from our work with clients like Navitus, we are confident that more payers and employers will welcome the opportunity to provide their members and employees the option of 90-day supplies at their community pharmacy.”

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