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NCPA highlights Taxpayers Protection Alliance report criticizing mail-order pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Federal prescription drug programs are more susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse because of the lack of transparency and oversight of mail-order pharmacy, proclaimed the Taxpayers Protection Alliance on Tuesday in a report called “The Expensive Truth Behind Taxpayer-Funded Mail Order Pharmaceuticals.” 

The National Community Pharmacists Association has committed to drawing further attention to the report as it advocates for patient choice of pharmacy and PBM reform with policymakers and health plan sponsors today. 

“The mission of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance is to hold the government accountable when taxpayers who fund government programs are being ill-served, so mail-order waste is a fitting area of focus," stated Doug Hoey, NCPA CEO. "As the TPA report notes, unused or unneeded medication shipped from mail order warehouses is a prime source of taxpayer-funded waste that policymakers should address.” 

“Given the significant and disconcerting shortcomings of the mail-order delivery programs, policy changes must be implemented to address the issues discussed in this report," TPA stated. "For starters, PBMs must adhere to and provide common sense forms of disclosure. Protecting patients and their ability to access the pharmacy of their choice is of great importance. Taxpayers … deserve transparency.”

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U.S. to contribute to ‘rapid’ biosimilar market growth through 2023, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — The global market for biosimilars will be worth nearly $2.5 billion this year, according to a new study.

The study, by British market research firm Visiongain, forecast that the $2.445 billion market size marked more than 20% of growth from 2012 and would account for about 2% of the overall market for biologics. The market is expected to grow rapidly through 2023 as biosimilars hit the market in the United States and European Union.

The fastest growth will be in biosimilar monoclonal antibodies and insulins, and two products submitted for regulatory approval in the European Union last year by Hospira and Celltrion are expected to launch there next year, according to the report. Meanwhile, the launch of biosimilar erythropoietin and filgrastim products in the United States will drive growth starting next year.

"Many companies are interested in entering the biosimilars market. These drugs offer a simpler way to launch biopharmaceuticals, compared with developing novel biologics," Visiongain pharmaceutical market analyst Richard Lang said. "Big pharma companies, such as Pfizer, Merck & Co. and Boehringer Ingelheim, have invested in this area in recent years. Many of these companies are focusing on biosimilar monoclonal antibody development – those three companies have clinical-stage candidates in that sector."

While the European Union has had a regulatory process for biosimilars for some time, the United States did not have one until the 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which enabled the Food and Drug Administration to approve biosimilars along an abbreviated regulatory pathway similar to, but more complicated than, the one for generic pharmaceutical drugs. The FDA still has to draft specific regulations before it can begin approving the products, which has prompted some companies to seek approval for biosimilars using the same process as the one for branded biologics. The agency did approve Omnitrope (somatropin), a biosimilar growth hormone made by Sandoz, in 2004 under a special application; Omnitrope is biosimilar to Pfizer’s Genotropin. Emerging markets have been leaders in biosimilars, particularly China and India, while the United States, European Union and Japan accounted for 20% of the market last year.

 

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Walgreens adds new in-store home movie transfer service to photo portfolio through iMemories

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — iMemories and Walgreens on Tuesday announced the availability of iMemories in Walgreens locations nationwide.

“iMemories’ relationship with Walgreens puts home movie transfer services within arm’s reach of every household in America,” stated Mark Rukavina, CEO iMemories. “We’re passionate about giving people a highly convenient way to preserve and enjoy their precious family memories – whether they were captured in 1957 using Super 8 movie film, or in 1985 using a VHS videotape,” he said. “With our home movie transfer service now available at every Walgreens, there’s no reason any family memories should get left behind.”

The agreement between iMemories and Walgreens creates one of the largest single networks of retail locations in the country offering comprehensive home movie transfer services. In addition, iMemories’ cloud-based platform will enable customers to store, view and share their home movies in their entire duration and full resolution from virtually any device screen.

Customers can bring their aging videotapes and movie film reels to their local Walgreens, to be transferred from their original analog formats into digital video. One of the unique aspects of the Walgreens service is that iMemories enables customers to preview, edit and further customize the contents of their original home movies online before they are transferred to the customer’s choice of new media, such as DVDs or Blu-rays. Additionally, customers can view and share their vintage home movies on the go with their iPhone, iPad or Android device via iMemories mobile apps.

“Of the 114 million American households, many people have a large number of home movies still in aging, original formats. The ability to view precious family memories from a mobile device, tablet, computer or TV is incredible,” said Jasbir Patel, Walgreens senior director and general merchandise manager of photo and e-commerce. “Our DVD Transfer service fully leverages today’s multi-screen world and is an unparalleled solution to help preserve captured video.”

 

 

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