PHARMACY

U.K.-based pharmacy chain teams with U.S. digital health products provider to improve adherence

BY Alaric DeArment

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — British retail pharmacy chain Lloyds Pharmacy and U.S.-based Proteus Biochemical are collaborating to launch a digital health product that combines sensor-enabled tablets, a sensor patch and a mobile health application to help people with complex medication regimens and health issues.

The two companies announced Friday that they would work together to commercialize and launch Helius, which they said would provide "assurance and peace of mind" to patients and their families, friends and providers, and improve medication adherence.

"Lloyds Pharmacy is committed to improving positive health outcomes for patients, and the Helius system is an exciting development, which takes our current medication adherence offering to a whole new level," Lloyds Pharmacy healthcare services director Steve Gray said. "There is a huge problem with medicines not being taken correctly. Anyone taking several medications shows how easy it can be to lose track of whether or not you’ve taken the correct tablets that day."


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PHARMACY

Bristol-Myers Squibb commences tender offer for Inhibitex

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Bristol-Myers Squibb has officially launched its tender offer for Inhibitex, the drug maker said Friday.

Bristol said it had commenced a $2.5 billion offer to buy all outstanding shares of Inhibitex, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based company developing treatments for hepatitis C. The company’s leading product is INX-189, an orally administered drug currently in phase-2 clinical trials.

Bristol announced its intention to buy Inhibitex Monday. The New York-based drug maker said it would make Inhibitex a wholly owned subsidiary following the acquisition.


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PHARMACY

@Walgreens: ‘It’s time to take a stand against @ExpressScripts’

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Walgreens on Thursday took its failed negotiations with Express Scripts to Twitter, paying the social media site to promote the hashtag #ILoveWalgreens and setting off a barrage of tweets by tweeting "It’s time to take a stand against @ExpressScripts. Tell them people want a choice by tweeting hashtag #ILoveWalgreens."

Walgreens paid the social network to promote that first tweet, making it show up in feeds of all Twitter users, even those who don’t follow the pharmacy online. According to Twitter, Walgreens tweeted 126 times on Thursday. And according to Walgreens, the response was overwhelming — "tens of thousands" tweeted the #ILoveWalgreens hashtag with the ratio of positive-to-Walgreens tweets outweighing the negative by 12-to-1. "It accomplished what we wanted it to," Michael Polzin, Walgreens spokesman, told Drug Store News. "We wanted to give our customers a forum for voicing how they feel about Walgreens, and how they’ve been impacted by having to change pharmacies as a result of Express Scripts’ stance."

Express Scripts countered the barrage of tweets with a series of six "facts" communicating that people still have choice with the 56,000 pharmacies remaining in the pharmacy benefit manager’s network. Express Scripts in one tweet asserted that "Walgreens’ proposed rates/terms would make them the most expensive pharmacy in our network."

During Walgreens’ annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, Walgreens CFO Wade Miquelon pointed to a slide showing that Express Scripts’ proposed reimbursement rates were not only a significant cut from what they’ve reimbursed in the past, but also a significant reduction as compared to the average industry cost of adjudicating a prescription, a fact that would have Walgreens operating at a loss when serving Express Scripts customers.

According to company officials, more than 200,000 of Walgreens’ patients have signed on for the chain’s prescription drug savings program from the beginning of the year through the shareholders meeting, marking a record sign-up rate. "The ball is in [Express Scripts’] court," Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions, told reporters immediately following the shareholders meeting. Walgreens had made a second offer to Express Scripts in December in an attempt to reinitiate negotiations, but that offer had been rejected.

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M.UPSHAW says:
Jan-16-2012 12:19 pm

As a customer and pharmacist by education my former employer chose X-Scripts to handle our RXs and only through mail order. It was the most horrible experience I have even had with a major company. Their organization was unbelievablely disorganized; one department didn't have a clue about what was going on in another. Also, constant phone calls to get me to switch to a cheaper drug even though the one recommended had a drug action warning with another drug I was taking. Fortunately there were so many complaints our company changed to CVS where we could use the local stores. MDU

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