PHARMACY

Studies further underscore importance of convenient care industry

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The recently released report by Kalorama Information indicating that retail-based health clinics are a viable business for retailers — if managed correctly — further underscores the importance of the convenient care industry, and comes just as a separate study highlighted the value of employer-based on-site health clinics.

(THE NEWS: Study: Retail-based clinics a viable business for Walmart, other retailers, if managed correctly. For the full story, click here)

Kalorama’s study suggested that retail-based health clinics are a viable business for retailers given they are managed correctly. Pointing to the success of those clinics within pharmacies, such as MinuteClinic and Take Care Clinics, Kalorama indicated that such retailers as Walmart would benefit from tying the clinics into the store versus keeping them as independent entities outside of the main traffic zone.

The study comes as news swirls that Walmart is looking to form strategic partnerships to expand the service offering within its 140 clinics nationwide.

Meanwhile, a separate study emerged examining the benefits of on-site health clinics.

The study, conducted by the Government Finance Officers Association with a grant from Colonial Life, found that employer-based on-site health clinics not only help employees lead healthier lives given the convenient and affordable healthcare services they provide but also the return on investment is significant — $1.60 to $4 saved for every dollar invested. That is significant and clearly it’s a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

Given the rising healthcare costs and the ongoing physician shortage plaguing an already overloaded healthcare system, studies such as these are important as they shed additional light on the valuable role that retail-based and employer-based health clinics play in helping Americans lead healthier lives.

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PHARMACY

Genzyme announces phase-3 results of Lemtrada in patients with relapsing MS

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A late-stage clinical trial of a drug under development as a treatment for multiple sclerosis has shown "successful" results.

Genzyme, acquired earlier this year by French drug maker Sanofi, announced results of the phase-3 "CARE-MS II" trial of Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), saying the drug "significantly reduced" worsening of disability and relapse in patients with MS, compared with Rebif (interferon beta-1a), made by Pfizer and German drug maker Merck KGaA, a separate company from U.S.-based Merck.

"CARE-MS II represents the culmination of many years of clinical and laboratory research aimed at demonstrating the potential for alemtuzumab as a highly effective treatment for MS and understanding mechanisms involved in the complex natural history of the disease," University of Cambridge clinical neuroscience professor Alastair Compston said on behalf of Genzyme. "Taken together, the phase-2 and phase-3 clinical trial data illustrate the promise that alemtuzumab holds as a transformative treatment for people with relapsing MS."


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Walgreens, three PBMs launch ad campaign warning of networks without Walgreens

BY Michael Johnsen

BOISE, Idaho — Walgreens on Friday joined with three pharmacy benefit managers — Altius Health Plans, Coventry Health Care and HealthAmerica — for an awareness campaign to educate employers on the benefits of a pharmacy network that includes Walgreens.

The campaign includes print and radio advertisements and outreach to employers. The campaign warns employers that if Walgreens is removed from their pharmacy network beginning Jan. 1 (a reference to the day Walgreens will no longer be a part of the Express Scripts network, though Express Scripts is not named in any of the releases), their employees may face disruptions in pharmacy care and, in some cases, "employers without Walgreens in their pharmacy network could end up paying higher overall medical costs."


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