PHARMACY

Report: Kroger extends call center pilot

BY Michael Johnsen

HAMILTON, Ohio — Kroger has extended a pharmacy call center pilot project with Koncert IT through February 2013, according to a report published Tuesday by JournalNews

"Right now [Kroger is] looking at possible infrastructure expansion in the event that it continues to move forward," Walt McLaren, president of Koncert IT, told JournalNews

The initiative is expected to untether in-store pharmacists for more on-site patient interaction while the call center will enable Kroger pharmacists to engage patients on their health and wellness over the phone.  

The pilot consisted of a call center serving 14 Kroger pharmacies across eastern Cincinnati. 

For the full report, click here

 

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Medicine adherence, long-term care and provider status on agenda at NCPA meeting

BY Barbara White-Sax

SAN DIEGO — The National Community Pharmacists Association released its third online pharmacy benefit manager video at the Association’s Annual Convention. Titled “Fed Up With Phil,” the video is part of campaign to create greater awareness of how pharmacy benefit managers can undermine the relationship between patients and their pharmacists.

NCPA’s CEO B. Douglas Hoey, R.Ph, said the organization will work this year to raise awareness among patients, plan sponsors and policy makers about how independent pharmacists help patients get the maximum value of their health plan.

Hoey said NCPA medicine adherence programs were a dominant theme at the meeting, with specialized programming and a special section devoted to the issue in the exhibition hall.

Lack of adherence costs the U.S. $300 billion a year, said Hoey. The shift to a preventive care philosophy makes it more crucial that pharmacists are recognized for their roles as healthcare providers, he said.

Long-term care niche marketing was also a hot topic at the meeting with a half-day of programming and a special section in the exhibition hall devoted to the area.

Donnie Calhoun, NCPA’s president elect, said that in 2012 the organization will focus on expanding community pharmacies’ scope of practice and will seek provider status for pharmacists. “It’s time we championed the patient’s choice of pharmacy and our role as healthcare providers,” he said.

Calhoun, who has worked as a pharmacist for 20 years and is the owner of a community pharmacy in Anniston, Ala., said that pharmacists should be paid for immunizing patients as well as providing the consultation and follow-up care essential to ensuring that patients adhere to their medication and healthcare regimen.

On the legislative front, John Coster, NCPA’s senior VP government affairs, said the organization will be focusing on “bringing more sense to how PBMs regulate pharmacies” and how much pharmacists will be paid for services, and will support legislation that exempts small pharmacies from bidding on Medicare competitive acquisition programs and pricing.

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FTC approves Watson-Actavis merger

BY Rebecca Haughey

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The Federal Trade Commission has voted to approve Watson Pharmaceutical’s acquisition of Switzerland-based generic drug maker Actavis.

The unanimous vote in support of the merger follows Watson’s agreement to divest a number of marketed and pipeline products to Par Pharmaceutical and Sandoz as a condition to obtaining FTC approval.

The parties have now obtained all regulatory approvals required to close the transaction, and expect to complete the acquisition in late October or early November. The acquisition is expected to create the world’s third-largest generic drug maker; Actavis operates in more than 40 countries and markets more than 1,000 products.

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