PHARMACY

NCPA re-ups RxWiki deal through 2021

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va.  — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Tuesday extended its deal with RxWiki through 2021.

"With more and more patients seeking health care solutions online, it is critical for independent community pharmacies to have a solid digital presence and rethink how they communicate with patients," stated Douglas Hoey, CEO NCPA. "That's why we are proud to continue our work with RxWiki to help community pharmacies strengthen their digital presence and offer convenient patient services like a refill app. RxWiki already operates high-quality digital solutions for 1,400 pharmacy brands, and this new agreement secures our member benefits and places greater emphasis on training and education for community pharmacy owners, managers and staff."

The fact is, the majority of community pharmacists are using social media to stay connected with their patients and drive visits to their physical store. According to an RxWiki survey released earlier this year, 65% of community pharmacists use social media, with 63% using Facebook and 24% using Twitter. Usage of other networks like Instagram and Pinterest were low, at 12% and 2% respectively.

Over 68% of pharmacists reported that they felt that social media had a definite positive impact on their business by either helping them stay connected with their patients, delivering health news to them, or driving visits to the store.

Posting one or more times per week was most common, with the most popular content being health related information and general going-ons in the pharmacy. There was no consistency on the person responsible for managing the accounts. In some pharmacies, it was the pharmacist who managed the account while in other pharmacies, it was the owner, the staff or a business manager.

While “time” was the biggest reason why respondents don’t use social media, those that do are only spending a few minutes each day managing the accounts. Less than 20% said that a lack of understanding of the platforms was the reason they didn’t use the platforms, reflecting the broader trends of social media adoption amongst all age groups.

In addition to posting content, 23% of pharmacists are advertising on social media, especially using Facebook advertising. Budgets ranged from $10/month all the way to more than $100/month.

As part of the deal, NCPA members receive an annual digital health check and a royalty-free license to RxWiki's original pharmacist-written and verified content and a newsfeed to power pharmacy social media or email marketing programs.

Other services available on RxWiki's Digital Pharmacist platform will be provided a members-onlu discount.

"We are delighted to work with NCPA and have the opportunity to help community pharmacists stay connected with their patients in new and innovative ways," said Chris Loughlin, CEO of RxWiki. "Every day, hundreds of thousands of patients are engaging with their community pharmacy via the mobile apps, websites, e-newsletters, and social media programs we develop. Our new products, such as adherence alerts and patient reviews, are driving adherence and giving pharmacists valuable patient feedback."
 

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Obama signs 21st Century Cures Act

BY David Salazar
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law in a ceremony at the White House, where he introduced by Vice President Joe Biden. The act, one of the last the outgoing president is expected to sign, will invest more than $6 billion over seven years to provide funding for various initiatives, including fighting prescription drug abuse, expanding the president’s Precision Medication Initiative and funding the “cancer moonshot,” aimed at finding new and better treatments for cancer. 
 
“Without true bipartisan support this legislation would have never occurred and it’s going to help millions of people,” Biden, whose son, Beau died of cancer in 2015, said. “The 21st Century Cures Act is going to harness America’s best minds, science, medicine and technology to tackle some f our biggest and most complex health challenges today.”
 
When the Senate passed the bill 94-5 on Dec. 7, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, R-Ky., moved to have the section with funding for the cancer initiative after Beau Biden. The bill has been praised by various industry players, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. 
 
“The 21st Century Cures Act … is an important victory for medical innovation that will help expedite the development of the next generation of breakthrough medicines to save lives and reduce suffering for millions of patients, while helping to lower other healthcare costs,” BIO president and CEO James Greenwood said when the bill passed the Senate. “We applaud the work of the Senate for making sure that this important legislation remained a priority. We particularly want to recognize Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, as well as the members of the Committee, for their tireless, bipartisan cooperation in crafting this important legislation”
 

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FDA approves Synjardy XR from Lilly, Boehringer Ingelheim

BY David Salazar
RIDGEFIELD, Conn. and INDIANAPOLIS — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Eli Lilly & Co.’s and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Synjardy XR (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride) extended-release tablets. The drug is indicated to improve blood sugar in adults with Type 2 diabetes when both empagliflozin and metformin can be taken. 
 
“Adults with Type 2 diabetes often take multiple medications, sometimes more than once a day, to manage their condition,” Boehringer Ingelheim president and CEO Paul Fonteyne said. “With Synjardy XR, the eighth FDA-approved treatment to emerge from our partnership with Lilly, adults with type 2 diabetes now have another convenient daily option to help them reach their glycemic goals, whether they are already being treated or are just at the beginning of their treatment.”
 

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