PHARMACY

Specialty pharmacy conference brings together industry experts

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A joint conference by the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy and the Association of Managed Care Pharmacy attracted hundreds of leaders from across the specialty pharmacy industry.

The conference, which took place last week in San Diego, included a panel discussion on specialty medical benefit management for immunoglobulin products, with panelists who included Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy director of utilization management Michael Einodshofer, Wellpoint staff VP Ann Nguyen, Express Scripts VP and clinical practice lead for specialty Mary Dorholt and AxelaCare Health VP payer relations and contracting Michael Baldzicki, with Avalere Health SVP product commercialization and reimbursement Lauren Barnes acting as moderator.

The event also included a panel that offered an overview of specialty pharmacy, including current trends in the industry, a review of the drug pipeline and discussions about financial models, stakeholder expectations and other issues. The panel included RJ Health Systems CEO John Aforismo and AltoMetrixs principal Steve Lagano.

A specialty pharmacy benefit management discussion on hepatitis C addressed benefit design options and challenges, formulary and product selection criteria, tactics in utilization management and other issues, with Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy senior director of business development and industry relations Cheryl Allen, MHA Specialty Pharmacy VP specialty pharmacy solutions Erik Halstrom, Gilead Sciences VP managed markets Coy Stout, Acro Pharmaceutical Services director of business development David Coury and SelectHealth manager of pharmacy services Matthew Mitchell as panelists and Rxperts president Debbie Stern as moderator.

A session on the evolution of the community pharmacist to specialty pharmacist sought to help attendees learn the educational requirements necessary to best serve specialty patients and other important information and included Community Specialty Pharmacy Network VP industry relations Nick Calla, National Association of Specialty Pharmacy founder and CEO Gary Cohen and URAC senior manager for product development Terri Smith Moore.

Zitter Group CEO Mark Zitter served as moderator for the specialty key stakeholder panel discussion, which also included Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy SVP sales and business development Atheer Kaddis, Acro Pharmaceutical Services president Sajid Syed, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan VP pharmacy services James Lang, CuraScript VP specialty payer account management and clinical services Jann Rigell and Institute for Integrated Healthcare and Bentelligence principal F. Randy Vogenberg.

Zitter also moderated a specialty pharmacy channel discussion that included Walgreens corporate VP specialty pharmacy and infusion Mike Ellis, National Community Pharmacists Association SVP strategic initiatives Kurt Proctor, Fairview Pharmacy Services director of business development Thomas Blissenbach and Onco360 CEO Burt Zweigenhaft.

"It’s All About the Patient" – Gaps in Care For the Specialty Patient focused on identifying and correcting gaps in patient care and discussing collaboration opportunities to enhance patient care. Pfizer Specialty Care VP U.S. specialty payer and channel group Diane Sullivan moderated the panel, which included Catamaran VP and chief pharmacy officer David Calabrese, MVP Health Care VP pharmacy services James Hopsicker, CareMed Pharmaceutical Services VP sales and marketing and network implementation John Witkowski, Biologics chief business development officer Daniel Duffy and U.S. Bioservices VP business development Keith McGee.

Another panel focused on the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on specialty, particularly how healthcare reform at various levels of government is leading to a "major paradigm shift" for healthcare delivery systems. NASP professional affairs head Jim Smeeding moderated the panel, which included Avalere Health SVP product commercialization and reimbursement Lauren Barnes, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group president and medical director Donald Balfour and Xcenda president Brian Nightengale.

Lastly, a panel moderated by Diplomat VP information technology and marketing Jennifer Cretu discussed how healthcare IT could improve specialty patient outcomes. The panel included Remedy Informatics VP medical affairs Chad Malone, Creehan and Co. president Sean Creehan, Genentech medical director Thomas Morrow, Cardinal Health VP and CMO for specialty solutions and clinical pathways Bruce Feinberg and Axelacare chief marketing officer David Schaefer.

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PHARMACY

Weis Markets re-opens Hamburg location with in-store pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets on Sunday celebrated the completion of its Hamburg location remodel and upgrade.

The store’s pharmacy, which was once a separate location, has been integrated into the store. In addition, the store’s HBC section has been relocated and is now adjacent to the pharmacy.

The store now features all new décor, a new exterior and expanded food service options, including in-store pizza and an upgraded bakery. 

As part of the celebration, the store donated $500 to the Sports Booster Club of the Hamburg School District and $500 to Union Fire Company No. 1 of Hamburg.

 

 

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Shift to Managed Medicaid shows some effects on patient care, but overall effect unclear, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — A growing number of patients on Medicaid are filling their prescriptions through Managed Medicaid plans instead of the fee-for-service model as states switch them over in an effort to improve patient care and cut healthcare costs, but the effects remain unclear, according to a new study.

The study, "Shift from Fee-for-Service to Managed Medicaid: What is the Impact on Patient Care?," by the IMS Institute of Healthcare Informatics, a division of IMS Health, focused on Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and Ohio, finding that nearly half of all Medicaid patients are on Managed Medicaid plans; the four states were chosen because they had experienced a dramatic shift to Managed Medicaid plans since 2011. IMS said the lack of consistent and measurable change could mean that efforts to improve care and lower costs for Medicaid beneficiaries had yet to be fully realized despite early signs that the shift was affecting some care.

"Managed Medicaid is seen by many states as a way to deliver better preventive care at a lower cost, and recent actions to reduce use of fee-for-service plans has been significant," IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics executive director Murray Aitken said. "While it is still early days, our research reveals some important signs of impact."

Findings in the report included greater use of generic antipsychotic drugs in all the states analyzed when those drugs were available, meaning patients in Managed Medicaid plans were likely to use generic antipsychotics at a rate 3% to 14% higher than those in fee-for-service plans.

Drugs for certain diseases were prescribed at higher rates in some states than in others. In New York, patients who switched to Managed Medicaid plans received 5% more prescriptions for diabetes conditions, including 13% greater use of the common diabetes drug metformin. In Kentucky, Managed Medicaid patients had a 5% higher rate of prescriptions for respiratory drugs, compared with a 1% increase among patients in Ohio and New Jersey.

Still, the study found little or no change among patients who switched to Managed Medicaid plans, or found that they experienced changes consistent with those who stayed in fee-for-service plans. In New Jersey, the average diabetes prescription use per patient declined 2% for patients in both plans, while use of antipsychotics in Ohio declined by 1% for both groups.

The study also found significant variations in Medicaid patient access across states and disease areas, reflecting differences in clinical practice, Medicaid program design and patient profiles. In New Jersey, use of antipsychotics for fee-for-service patients is 40% lower than in the other states, while Managed Medicaid patients show 40% greater use of respiratory medicines.

The study was presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s annual meeting in San Diego last week.

 

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