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Benadryl Perfect Measure

BY Michael Johnsen

With all of the concern over the proper dosing of pediatric medicines, McNeil Consumer has introduced a new "Perfect Measure" individualized dosing spoon with its Children’s Benadryl allergy reliever.

And good news for moms: The medicine is "squeezed" onto the spoon and into the child’s mouth, so there’s less chance that a squirmy, sick child will be wearing the allergy relief, as opposed to taking it.

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CVS Caremark donates more than $1.3 million to local charities

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark’s 2009 Charity Classic generated more than $1.3 million to be donated to local charities.

PGA Pros and CVS Caremark Charity Classic hosts Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon joined CVS Caremark president, chairman and CEO, Tom Ryan, to present the funds during a ceremony on Monday at CVS Caremark’s headquarters.

“The CVS Caremark Charity Classic offers world-class entertainment for golf fans while providing support to the communities where we live and work,” stated Ryan. “In our 11th year of presenting the Charity Classic, we are proud to have given back more than $13 million to support local charities in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.”

A total of 64 nonprofit organizations are receiving funds raised through the CVS Caremark Charity Classic this year. Among the beneficiaries who attended the check presentation are the working charities whose volunteers provide support to the tournament.

Since the tournament’s inception in 1999, the CVS Caremark Charity Classic has donated more than $13 million to charity.

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Acro, Armada host third annual Regional Payer/Managed Care Symposium

BY Rob Eder

PHILADELPHIA Acro Pharmaceutical Services, in conjunction with Armada Health Care, hosted the third Annual Regional Payer/Managed Care Symposiumm here on Dec. 11 at the Hyatt Regency-Penn’s Landing.

Anchored by an in-depth panel discussion with representatives from top national and regional payer organizations — including, Aetna Specialty Pharmacy, Amerigroup, Health Partners of Philadelphia, Independence Blue Cross/Future Scripts, Johns Hopkins Health Plan, Passport Health Plan and Perform Rx — the event also featured a dual keynote presentation from Mark Thierer, president and CEO at SXC Health Solutions, and Mark Adkison, the company’s SVP mail and specialty. Thierer and Adkison focused their remarks on healthcare reform and how integrated healthcare data can help drive compliance rates and optimize the drug spend for payer groups.

Key points from the panel discussion, which focused on management strategies for high cost specialty drugs and how health reform will likely affect managed care pharmacy utilization, included —

  • Specialty pharmacies, whether in-house or outsourced to vendors, are important partners for health plans in terms of implementing formulary and utilization management
  • Health plan priorities for managing specific specialty categories are based on two factors: category spending; and opportunity for category management (e.g., categories with multiple competing products present a greater opportunity)
  • Payers’ specialty management perspectives can vary by lines of business (commercial vs. Medicaid vs. Medicare)o For commercial plans, employers (especially those who are self-funded) drive benefit design decisions and the general cost control philosophy for specialty drugso For Medicaid plans, there might be constraints within the context of state regulations (states may legislate preventing implementation of formulary or utilization management in select therapeutic areas)o For Medicare plans, population dynamics (e.g., prevalent conditions in elderly population) is an important factor
  • Management of specialty drugs relies on effective coordination between pharmacy and medical benefitso Ability to coordinate between these benefits may vary among plans; for some plans division between pharmacy and medical benefits might be rather artificial, while for others it is driven by benefit design
  • Key specialty management strategies focus on network/distribution channels, formulary management, benefit design, as well as utilization, disease, and case managemento Regardless of what specialty management strategies are used, it is critical to maintain alignment between stakeholder incentives; any imbalance can shift utilization to more costly sites of care and/or create provider network disruptionso Payers expect greater use of formulary and utilization management techniques in the area of specialty drugs (including oncology)
  • Payer experience shows that most savvy account managers serve as effective liaisons between their accounts and their corporate teams in adequately representing interests of their customers.

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