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Simplify My Meds — a new NCPA tool to drive compliance, increase scripts

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Monday launched Simplify My Meds, an innovative adherence program that provides pharmacists with the tools to help coordinate patients’ prescription refills to a single day of the month, for its independent community pharmacy members.

The new model facilitates a more comprehensive and coordinated level of pharmacy care, reduces the potential for gaps in therapy and promotes improved medication adherence, the NCPA stated.

"Instead of wringing our hands about disappointing patient medication adherence rates that continue to hover around 50%, NCPA is proactively addressing this challenge by using what has worked and making it scalable for all community pharmacies,” stated Douglas Hoey, NCPA EVP and CEO.

Research has confirmed the role that community pharmacists play in providing patients with the assistance necessary to maintain high levels of medication adherence. In particular, refill coordination at a single pharmacy is recognized as an effective tactic to improve adherence, the NCPA noted.

The key difference between Simplify My Meds and other auto-refill programs is the high-touch, personalized patient consultations each month. This “mini medication reconciliation” process is a cornerstone of the program and allows the pharmacist to identify any recent hospitalizations, especially those that may have resulted in changes in therapy, such as new medications or dosage adjustments.

Independent community pharmacies that have previously employed this practice also have seen tangible, positive results for their business, the NCPA added. By coordinating exactly what day patient refills occur, the independent pharmacy staff’s workload is streamlined, making daily workloads more predictable and reducing labor costs. Data analyzed from pharmacies using this model has shown as much as a 30% increase in prescription volume, a 50% decrease in labor costs and $1.87 per script increase in gross margin.

“The healthcare paradigm is shifting to more patient-centered, comprehensive and efficient services," Hoey said. "With the movement toward the accountable care organizations concept and patient-centered medical homes, and especially during transitions of care, appropriate medication management is central to successful outcomes," he added. "Engaging in adherence practices is an important way for community pharmacies to enhance their business, improve patient care and demonstrate to decision-makers — in both the public and private sector — that we can help achieve better care, better outcomes [and] lower costs, at a better value to the healthcare system.”

Participating pharmacies will receive a detailed operations manual, access to training and help desk support, as well as a marketing kit to help make patients and health plan sponsors aware of the program’s value and convenience.

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Needle disposal solution offered exclusively at Walgreens

BY Michael Johnsen

HOUSTON — Sharps Compliance on Monday announced that Walgreens will be the exclusive retailer for the company’s Complete Needle Collection & Disposal System.

"When it comes to patient care and safety, this innovative disposal alternative can help provide a convenient option for patients," stated Suzanne Hansen, Walgreens group VP pharmacy operations. "Customers often ask about what to do with these types of needles, and now our pharmacists have another option to discuss with patients."

"We estimate that there are approximately 10 million people in the United States that legally self-inject medications," stated David Tusa, president and CEO of Sharps Compliance. "Additionally, the vast majority of those needles are improperly handled and end up in our solid waste stream and landfills through regular solid waste pickup or flushing. … This system also addresses concerns regarding the exposure of family members and others to the risk of an accidental needle-stick."

Complete Needle provides an individual self-injector with a containment solution designed to protect self-injectors and their family members, and includes an optional disposal feature utilizing the U.S. Postal Service designed to protect the individual’s community, solid waste workers and the environment.

Walgreens’ exclusivity expires after December, Sharps reported.

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Volleyballer Nora Tobin joins GNC LiveWell team

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — GNC on Monday named Nora Tobin — competitive beach volleyball athlete, National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified professional trainer, yoga instructor and upcoming author — to the specialty retailer’s GNC LiveWell team as its newest brand ambassador.

In that capacity, Tobin will bring her knowledge of fitness, diet, nutrition, yoga and sports-specific training to educate athletes and fitness enthusiasts on living a healthy, athletic life — and how GNC products can help enhance and support those goals — through the use of social media, video, appearances and marketing materials.

"At GNC, we are constantly striving to help consumers follow the path to a healthier lifestyle," stated Jeff Hennion, EVP, chief marketing officer and chief e-commerce officer at GNC.

GNC will feature Tobin’s healthy tips and updates on Twitter @NoraTobin, on Facebook at both facebook.com/NoraTobin and facebook.com/GNCLiveWell, and on her website NoraTobin.com.

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