PHARMACY

ScriptRelief to sponsor Single Touch Systems’ prescription, appointment reminders

BY Alaric DeArment

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Single Touch Systems has picked a company that distributes prescription discount cards to sponsor the messages it delivers to pharmacy customers.

Single Touch announced the selection of ScriptRelief to sponsor its prescription pickup and appointment reminders sent to patients’ mobile devices. ScriptRelief provides the RxRelief pharmacy discount card program, which offers discounts on more than 50,000 prescription drugs.

"According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 50 million people throughout the United States are uninsured," Single Touch CEO James Orsini said. "Having delivered more than 300 million messages on behalf of our retail partners and clients, Single Touch established itself as a market leader in the mobile healthcare space; therefore, we are the right partner to help ScriptRelief address this growing cultural divide."


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PHARMACY

Reports: Congressmen accuse companies of drug price gouging

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Lawmakers are going after companies that they say have sought to take advantage of drug shortages by buying drugs in short supply and then reselling them at higher prices, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported that Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., had sent letters to three people whom they alleged to be operating a "shell game," obtaining licenses to create gray-market pharmacy and wholesale companies that would buy drugs from legitimate wholesalers, then resell them to other gray-market companies. In one instance, a company called Priority Healthcare allegedly bought the chemotherapy drug fluorouracil for $6.77 per vial and then sold it through its distributor, Tri-Med America, to another company for $69 per vial.

Currently, the congressmen are investigating three companies, but Cummings had sent letters to an additional 19 that may be involved in the same activity. Most of the drugs are generics used in hospitals, including chemotherapy drugs, painkillers and antibiotics, according to AP.

Cummings was quoted as saying that if the gray-market companies’ alleged activities weren’t illegal, they should be because they threatened the lives of patients. Drug shortages can result in doctors postponing treatments for serious diseases, and an investigation by AP last fall found that at least 15 people had died since 2010 due to drug shortages.


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Shop ‘n Save Pharmacy offers DPCA diabetes control program

BY Allison Cerra

MINNETONKA, Minn. — Supervalu banner Shop ‘n Save Pharmacy has joined the UnitedHealth Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance.

As part of the alliance, Shop ‘n Save Pharmacy now is offering the DPCA diabetes control program at 26 locations in the St. Louis metro area. Through the program, the retailer will provide patient education and support from trained pharmacists by appointment to help people with diabetes better control their condition and reduce the risk of developing such complications as cardiovascular, kidney and eye disease. What’s more, pharmacists in these select Shop ‘n Save Pharmacy locations will conduct blood-glucose, cholesterol and blood-pressure testing services for program participants and provide them with on-the-spot results, enabling patients to get immediate feedback on their status or progress in managing their diabetes.

Currently, DPCA services are available at no additional out-of-pocket cost to participants enrolled in employer-provided health insurance plans through UnitedHealthcare and Medica in select markets.

"Supervalu is proud to partner with the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance to help make an impact on the nation’s diabetes epidemic through equipping and empowering patients to improve their health. Shop ‘n Save pharmacists are well-positioned to improve our patients’ health due to their accessibility, training and experience in coordinating health care services," Supervalu pharmacies president Chris Dimos said.

Shop ‘n Save serves the greater St. Louis, Mo., Springfield, Ill. and Jerseyville, Ill., areas and also operates a store in Peoria, Ill.


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