PHARMACY

Rochester Drug Cooperative, Aureus Health Services partner on specialty offering for independents

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Drug Cooperative, a regional pharmaceutical wholesaler, and Aureus Health Services, a national specialty pharmacy and health management company, on Thursday announced a first of its kind specialty pharmacy services program available to RDC's independent, community pharmacy customers.  
 
Aureus will provide specialty pharmacy management services to RDC customer pharmacies to support the needs of their specialty patients and physicians. The private-labeled program will operate under the name Quality Care Specialty Pharmacy Program and will provide community pharmacies with the support and expertise needed to service patients who utilize specialty medications. 
 
The Quality Care Specialty Pharmacy Program has been designed to allow patients the choice of picking up their specialty prescriptions from their local community pharmacy, the same pharmacy that is providing their traditional prescriptions for more common conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension amongst others. 
 
"The Quality Care Specialty Pharmacy Program provides a much-needed solution for our independent pharmacy customers by providing them the ability to service patients taking specialty prescriptions," said Larry Doud, CEO, RDC, "Up until now many pharmacies had to turn away patients because they were not equipped with the infrastructure and internal resources to manage specialty medications. Now the pharmacies are able to navigate the complex process associated with filling a specialty drug, enabling them to retain the customers that they are already servicing." 
 
"Aureus is excited to be RDC's partner in this important initiative", said Michael Nameth, CEO of Aureus Health Services, "the Quality Care Specialty Pharmacy Program will help get patients started on their drug therapy more quickly, provide financial assistance to those patients in need and better educate them on their therapies, resulting in improved medication adherence and outcomes."  
 
The program is immediately available to all RDC customers with stores located throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Eastern Ohio, Southern Connecticut and currently expanding to other areas.

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PHARMACY

APhA stresses importance of immunizations

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In light of the renewed discussions on the efficacy and safety of childhood vaccinations, The American Pharmacists Association issued a statement on the important role childhood and lifespan vaccinations play in protecting personal and public health.

In his statement, Thomas Menighan, APhA EVP and CEO, stated:

“In recent weeks, a renewed discussion has emerged over childhood vaccinations, their efficacy and their safety. The facts are that vaccines work and America’s pharmacists support vaccination as an important public health measure. Vaccines were created to protect the public against harmful and potentially deadly diseases. Because of vaccinations, many dangerous diseases are now preventable.

“APhA encourages individuals to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities against vaccine-preventable disease by staying up to date on their immunizations. There are many children and adults in the U.S. who cannot receive vaccinations because of medical conditions, such as a suppressed immune system, or age limitations. By vaccinating as many people as we can, we create a ‘herd immunity’ that helps us protect others in our communities who are not able to receive these vaccines. This is how we virtually eradicated smallpox in the United States decades ago, and, until recently, greatly reduced the number of measles cases. As more people choose not to immunize, herd immunity is weakened and it may expose our most susceptible patients to potentially deadly diseases.

“Pharmacists are an important community source of information on vaccinations, and where authorized, vaccine administrators. They are a great resource for parents and caregivers who wish to better understand their vaccination needs and the immunization schedule recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. They are a knowledgeable and accessible member of the immunization neighborhood and work in conjunction with other members of the patient’s health care team to achieve optimal outcomes. In short, if someone has any questions about the efficacy and importance of immunizations, they can talk with their local pharmacist.”

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PHARMACY

Merck launches insomnia drug

BY Michael Johnsen

KENILWORTH, N.J. — Merck earlier this week announced that Belsomra (suvorexant) is now available at pharmacies in the United States for the treatment of insomnia in adults who have difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Belsomra is the only orexin receptor antagonist approved for the treatment of insomnia in the United States. Orexin is one of the many neurotransmitters in the brain involved in promoting wakefulness, and Belsomra selectively blocks orexin receptors. In doing this, Belsomra is thought to suppress wake drive in the brain. 
 
“Insomnia is a serious condition that affects millions of Americans,” stated David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “With Belsomra, healthcare professionals and patients now have an additional option to consider.”
 
The recommended dose of Belsomra is 10 mg, taken no more than once per night and within 30 minutes of going to bed, with at least seven hours remaining before the planned time of awakening. The total dose should not exceed 20 mg once daily.
 
Belsomra is contraindicated in patients with narcolepsy. Belsomra contains suvorexant, a Schedule IV controlled substance, and can impair daytime wakefulness. Central nervous system depressant effects can last for up to several days after discontinuation.
 
In the brain’s wake/sleep circuitry, two systems work together to regulate wake and sleep. The system that is more active determines whether a person is awake or asleep. The orexin signaling system is a central promoter of wakefulness. Scientists currently at Tsukuba University, Kanazawa University in Japan and Stanford University in the United States first discovered orexin in 1998.
 
 
“Merck has been conducting research in the sleep field for more than a decade,” said David Michelson, VP neurosciences, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are proud to be one of the earliest companies to research the role of orexin receptors in insomnia, which ultimately led to the introduction of Belsomra in the United States.” 
 

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