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PHARMACY

Retail pharmacies lead mail-order in customer satisfaction ratings, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Customer satisfaction with retail pharmacies has increased faster than mail-order pharmacies despite the perceived cost competitiveness of the latter, according to a new study.

J.D. Power released its 2013 Pharmacy Study Monday, showing that satisfaction with brick-and-mortar pharmacies was 837 points, up 23 points from last year. During the same period, satisfaction with mail-order pharmacies increased from 792 to 797. The study was based on responses from more than 13,500 pharmacy customers between July and August who filled or refilled a prescription the three months before the survey period.

"For the most part, the widening gap in satisfaction has more to do with improved satisfaction in the brick-and-mortar segment than declining satisfaction in mail order," J.D. Power director of healthcare practice Scott Hawkins said. "For mail-order pharmacies, it’s important to combine high-tech with high-touch. Not only does the online experience need to keep technological pace with other retail sites that pharmacy customers visit, but customer service opportunities that provide personal connections are essential as well."

In terms of cost advantage, mail-order had a seven-point advantage over brick-and-mortar in 2011, but a 20-point disadvantage in 2013. Meanwhile, the percentage of customers who indicated that they refilled prescriptions at a brick-and-mortar pharmacy increased to 61%, from 58% a year ago. Among drug chains, Good Neighbor Pharmacy ranked highest among chain drug stores, while Target ranked highest among mass-merchandisers, and Publix topped the supermarket segment. Kaiser Permanente Mail Pharmacy ranked highest in mail-order.

 

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Mylan launches generic anti-fungal drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Mylan has launched the first generic version of a drug used to treat fungal infections, the company said Monday.

The drug maker announced the launch of voriconazole for oral suspension in the 40-mg-per-mL strength. The drug is the first generic version of Pfizer’s Vfend, and as the first company to receive approval for a generic version, Mylan has 180 days in which to compete exclusively against Pfizer’s product. The drug is used to treat invasive fungal infections.

The drug had sales of $17.1 million during the 12-month period that ended in June, according to IMS Health.

 

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H.D. Smith completes purchase of reimbursement, patient assistance and brand-support services company

BY Michael Johnsen

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — H. D. Smith on Monday announced full ownership acquisition of Triplefin, a reimbursement, patient assistance and pharmaceutical brand-support services company headquartered in Cincinnati. H. D. Smith secured majority representation on Triplefin’s board of directors in January 2013 and majority stock ownership interest in May 2013. 

H.D. Smith has now acquired the remaining 49% of shares in Triplefin, giving the wholesaler full ownership. Triplefin will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of H. D. Smith within the H. D. Smith Specialty Solutions Operating Unit. 

"H. D. Smith is committed to providing end-to-end value throughout the healthcare chain to our customers and the patients they serve — and the Triplefin mission to remove barriers, connect patients and grow brands fits perfectly with the H. D. Smith Specialty Solutions focus on the patient journey," stated Dale Smith, chairman and executive officer, H. D. Smith. "Our interest in Triplefin began a year ago, sparked by the company’s specialized offerings across patient support programs, distribution/fulfillment, marketing, pharmacy services, technology and specialty product education functions. Together, our organizations have already integrated many of our functions, and established an end-to-end service value chain touching all aspects of prescription medicine distribution and support." 

Together, the combined organization will continue to provide support services to traditional brand and specialty product manufacturers and pharmacy partners, including distribution and fulfillment functions, patient assistance and reimbursement programs, third-party logistics, pharmaceutical marketing and product education.

"Triplefin shares the H. D. Smith Specialty Solutions commitment to supporting patients from the moment they begin receiving care, to the completion of their treatment," said Joseph Conda, president of H. D. Smith Specialty Solutions. "We remain impressed and inspired by the organization that Greg LaLonde and Rick Randall have built over the past 10 years, and we are enthusiastic about driving their mission forward — reshaping the patient journey through end-to-end solutions."

Financial terms of the full ownership acquisition were not disclosed.

 

 

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