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P&G, Alexander McQueen ink fragrance licensing deal

BY Antoinette Alexander

GENEVA & LONDON —Procter & Gamble has announced that P&G Prestige has entered into a licensing agreement with Alexander McQueen to manufacture and sell designer fragrance products under the Alexander McQueen brand name.

“Alexander McQueen has captured the imagination of the world in a unique and indelible way. The brand has become synonymous with modern British couture and will bring their incredibly passionate and emotional point of view to fragrance,” stated Joanne Crewes, president of P&G Prestige. “Alexander McQueen brings a unique perspective to the P&G Prestige portfolio. The contrasting elements of their design approach — fragility and strength, tradition and modernity, fluidity and severity — is incredibly rich territory for fragrance development. This creative approach, combined with our expertise in fragrance and brand building, creates a wonderful opportunity for global growth and expansion. It is a tremendous privilege to partner with Alexander McQueen and to bring this incredible brand into beauty.”

 “With the growing popularity and interest in Alexander McQueen, signing a fragrance license was a natural development for the house in expanding our product offering to reach a wider audience. P&G Prestige has showed such passion and belief in our brand; coupled with their expertise and knowledge in fragrances, I am confident that this will be an exciting and successful collaboration,” stated Jonathan Akeroyd, president and CEO of Alexander McQueen.

 

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CVS Caremark’s Pharmacy Advisor program highlighted in IMS report on adherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has announced that its Pharmacy Advisor program is featured in the national report issued by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report released this week.

As reported by Drug Store News, The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that better adherence, more careful prescribing of antibiotics and increased generic use could reduce the country’s total annual health expenditures by 8%.

The study, "Avoidable Costs in U.S. Healthcare: The $200 Billion Opportunity from Using Medicines More Responsibly," examines six areas that contribute to unnecessary costs: medication nonadherence, delayed evidence-based treatment practice, misuse of antibiotics, medication errors, suboptimal use of generics and mismanaged polypharmacy in older adults. Of these, medication nonadherence drives the largest avoidable cost. According to the report, patients who did not take their medications properly experienced complications that led to an estimated $105 billion in annual avoidable healthcare costs.

The report highlights CVS Caremark’s innovative Pharmacy Advisor program as an example of a patient care model that is helping improve medication adherence rates. The program is available to CVS Caremark members who are diagnosed with certain chronic conditions and provides them with key information about their prescribed therapy when they are most receptive to these messages — face-to-face when members are filling a prescription at the pharmacy or by phone from the Pharmacy Advisor Call Center when members choose home delivery.

"Pharmacy Advisor offers patients the ability to engage with a pharmacist one-on-one, at the pharmacy or on the phone. The customized, expert care they receive helps change patient behavior over time, making them more likely to take their medications as prescribed by their doctor, leading to better health outcomes long-term," said Troyen A. Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. "By creating and maintaining positive relationships with patients, pharmacists play a crucial role in monitoring and improving patient adherence."

Launched in 2011, Pharmacy Advisor initially focused on patients with diabetes. In 2012, the program was expanded to include chronic cardiovascular care, with the goal of improving medication adherence for four conditions: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. The program was expanded again in 2013 to include support for patients with asthma, breast cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and osteoporosis.

Research published in Health Affairs about the Pharmacy Advisor program for diabetes showed that pharmacist interaction with patients and their doctors increased both medication adherence rates and physician initiation of prescriptions, thereby improving care for diabetes patients and resulting in savings for payors. Therapy initiation rates increased by as much as 39% for the population studied, with an even higher increase of 68% for the group counseled at retail stores.

Overall medication adherence rates increased by 2.1%, with face-to-face interventions by retail store pharmacists resulting in adherence rate increases of 3.9%. While expenditures for the counseling in the study totaled $200,000, the participating employer saved more than $600,000 through healthcare cost avoidance with the intervention group, a return on investment of $3 for every $1 spent on additional counseling.
 

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Bill would delay cost-cutting measures called harmful to independent pharmacies, Medicare patients

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives would delay competitive bidding under Medicare for medical equipment until some issues are resolved.

The bill, H.R. 2375, the Transparency and Accountability in Medicare Billing Act, would delay by at least six months implementation of two rounds of the Medicare durable medical equipment competitive bidding program and the national mail-order program for diabetic testing supplies in order to give Congress the ability to reform the program, allow its evaluation by auction experts and other purposes. Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, introduced the bill, which received co-sponsorship from Reps. Lou Barletta, R-Pa.; Bill Posey, R-Fla.; Tom Rooney, R-Fla.; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.; and C.A. Ruppersberger, D-Md.

"The National Mail Order program policies Medicare is implementing are penny-wise and pound-foolish because they run the significant risk of contributing to more hospitalizations and costly healthcare interventions for diabetes patients," National Community Pharmacists Association CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "In addition, by steering patients away from their longtime community pharmacist, Medicare’s changes fly in the face of bipartisan efforts toward better coordinated care models, such as through medical homes and accountable care organizations."

According to the NCPA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is preparing to put cuts in place that would reduce pharmacy reimbursement rates for diabetes testing supplies by 72% this year, forcing some pharmacies to stop offering them to seniors, which is of particular concern in rural and inner-city areas. In addition, a definition of "mail order" used by the agency would prohibit independent pharmacies from delivering supplies to homebound seniors and residents of assisted living facilities, the group said.

"Many seniors may experience some disruption as both the providers and the equipment to which they are accustomed may no longer be available to them," Hoey said. "Some beneficiaries have relied on their community pharmacy for decades. There’s no justification for banning these trusted providers from furnishing this service to some of Medicare’s frailest populations — beneficiaries who are homebound or in assisted living facilities, at no added cost to the government."

 

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