PHARMACY

Towers Watson names Loblaw Companies preferred pharmacy for Towers Watson Canadian Rx Coalition

BY Michael Johnsen

TORONTO — Towers Watson on Tuesday announced that it has selected Loblaw Companies as the preferred pharmacy services provider for its Towers Watson Canadian Rx Coalition, a collaborative network of private sector drug plan sponsors. 

The arrangement with Loblaw is expected to improve employers’ ability to offer their employees access to a robust range of drug store health resources and support overall health and wellness needs while enabling long-term sustainability of their benefits programs in the face of rising costs. 

With approximately 500 pharmacies today in its network of banners, Loblaw is one of the largest full-service retail drug retailers operating in Canada, Towers Watson reported. Loblaw offers a variety of patient education programs and in-store dietitians to address the health and wellness needs of customers, and its stores are home to more than 100 medical clinics, 100 optical shops and 60 Goodlife Fitness facilities. 

 

 

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PHARMACY

NCPA survey: Most independents provide compounding services

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As many as 85.5% of independent community pharmacies offer patients traditional compounding services, and while it accounts for a small portion of their business, the health-enhancing effect for patients can be dramatic, according to a new survey released Tuesday by the National Community Pharmacists Association.

Of those pharmacists who compound medications, nearly two-thirds reported the medications made up less than 5% of their pharmacy practice. Nearly 3-out-of-4 compounding pharmacists only provide nonsterile medications. Despite the fact that traditional compounding only represents a fraction of their business, 70% of pharmacists report participating in ongoing training/educational courses related to compounding techniques. This training is in addition to any continuing education that may be required to sustain one’s license as a pharmacist, NCPA reported.

“This survey offers fresh evidence that traditional compounding services are a saving grace for patients when mass-produced drugs aren’t available or are not appropriate for the patient,” stated Douglas Hoey NCPA CEO. “Pharmacists will continue to work constructively with Congress and other policymakers to not only help prevent another crisis like the [recent] meningitis outbreak, but to also preserve patients’ access to customized and safe compounded medications," he said.  

“Pharmacists are appalled by the reported actions of the rogue drug manufacturer at the center of the tragic, nationwide meningitis outbreak,” Hoey said. “It purported to be a pharmacy, but its actions told another story. It’s disappointing that regulators did not act sooner to prevent patient suffering.”

Pharmacists and other experts consider the cornerstone of traditional pharmacy compounding to be the preparation of customized medications on a patient-by-patient basis in response to the request of a doctor or other prescriber. The practice is most commonly employed when manufactured drugs are not appropriate for a particular patient, such as children or those with allergies, or when mass-produced medicines are not available.

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FDA approves Mylan pulmonary arterial hypertension drug

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic drug made by Mylan for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension, the drug maker said Tuesday.

Mylan announced the FDA approval of sildenafil citrate tablets in the 20-mg strength, a generic version of Pfizer’s Revatio. The drug is used to treat adults with PAH to improve exercise ability and delay clinical worsening of the condition.

Revatio had sales of about $339 million during the 12-month period ended in September, according to IMS Health.


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