Rite Aid launches Web consultations
BOSTON —In what might very well represent a glimpse into the future of pharmacy retailing, Rite Aid and American Well last month set the stage for increased patient access to the Rite Aid pharmacist through the Internet.
Rite Aid will become the first drug store chain in the nation to bring American Well’s Online Care services to market—services that feature a patient-friendly, live and interactive interface with a pharmacist when and where that customer wants to connect.
Today, it’s another way to touch a Rite Aid pharmacist. Patients will be able to initiate consultations from the convenience of their home, work or in select stores where the service will be available in the privacy of consultation rooms. During each consultation, Rite Aid pharmacists will be able to review the patient’s history, speak with and see the patient, and provide medication consultations and advice. The system will automatically compile a full record of each conversation when completed, supporting care continuity.
Tomorrow, the scope and breadth of such services could be a whole other story. American Well’s Online Care services actually have been on the market since 2006, when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii signed on and placed its physicians into a virtual on-call queue. That system is available to any person throughout Hawaii, whether he or she is a member of Blue Cross or not, and collects either the co-pay or the full cost of a 10-minute physician consultation as part of the interface, Roy Schoenberg, president and CEO of American Well, told Drug Store News. Doctors who participated in that program opted in, Schoenberg said.
The creation of a virtual consultation room represents significant cost savings in the delivery of health care, Schoenberg noted. First, it eliminates the need to provide a physical location that’s open and staffed beyond normal business hours. Second, the participating healthcare practitioners can either counsel a national patient base from a central location or from the comfort of their offices.
One factor that could make services like this a potential game-changer is the bringing together of multiple practitioners—physician, pharmacist and retail clinician—who all have access to the same electronic medical record. “When this system speaks to all of these [practitioners], it will truly live up to the mission of bringing health care to where the patients are,” he said, noting that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii already is pursuing the development of that kind of comprehensive care.
The other potential game-changer is when the service becomes available through smartphone devices that quite literally will place a pharmacist in the pocket of a customer when she’s actually at the shelf making a selection. And that day is not too far away. “Mobile-device supports for this system are pending,” Schoenberg said. “You will see it very soon,” he added, especially as more smartphones are able to exchange data streams through the Internet while a user is talking on the phone.
Teva receives tentative approval for generic Sensipar
JERUSALEM The Food and Drug Administration has granted tentative approval to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ generic version of an Amgen drug, Teva said Friday.
The FDA gave the tentative approval to cincacalcet hydrochloride tablets in the 30-mg, 60-mg and 90-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Amgen’s Sensipar, which has annual sales of $458 million, according to IMS Health. The drug is used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis.
Tentative approval means that the drug meets most of the conditions for approval, but the FDA cannot grant final approval because the patents covering the drug don’t expire until December 2016, according to FDA records. Teva and Amgen are currently involved in patent litigation concerning the drug in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, though a trial has not been set, Teva said.
RediClinic introduces Teen Health Package
HOUSTON RediClinic is launching in time for summer camp and upcoming school sports a new health package designed specifically for teenagers.
The new Teen Health Package includes a physical exam, an acne consultation and an immunization review for $59.
"We all know that adolescence is a time of great change," stated Susan Cooley King, VP clinical services. "With this in mind, RediClinic created a special health package that addresses the specific health needs of a teen."
Physical exams are always in season. They are required by summer camps and for participation in school sports. During a RedlClinic physical, a clinician evaluates the teen’s medical history. The exam is then performed, checking their physical health including, but not limited to, chest and heart, lymph nodes, blood pressure and abdomen.
Patients of the Teen Health Package also will receive an evaluation of their acne issues and the clinician will make recommendations for the most appropriate treatment ranging from over-the-counter medications to prescriptions.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 85% of American teenagers are effected by acne.
Patients also will receive an immunization review whereby the clinician will review the teen’s immunization history, identify which vaccines the patient needs for school admission and administer the vaccines, for an additional charge if necessary.