PHARMACY

Walgreens Empire State Building store opens

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is opening its latest New York flagship store in the Empire State Building, the retail pharmacy chain said Friday.

The store, scheduled to open Saturday at 10 a.m., will include an enhanced pharmacy designed to encourage greater interaction between pharmacists and patients, a health guide to help customers find health-and-wellness products and healthcare services ranging from immunizations to health tests. An "Ask Your Pharmacist" desk, private consultation rooms and Express Rx kiosks are included as well.

"We are extremely pleased to provide another revolutionary store that demonstrates how Walgreens is transforming daily living, pharmacy and healthcare experiences nationwide," Walgreens president of operations and community management Mark Wagner said. "Walgreens innovative products and services support our commitment to help our customers get, stay and live well."

The LOOK Boutique beauty department will feature an Eyebrow Bar with shaping and grooming services, as well as dozens of brands across cosmetics, skin care and hair care, including some not typically found in drug stores, as well as beauty advisers.

For consumables, an Upmarket Cafe will have fresh coffee, pastries, doughnuts and bagels, and the store will include self-serve frozen yogurt with a toppings bar, a Coca-Cola Freestye machine that dispenses 130 varieties of Coca-Cola fountain drinks, a variety of beers — including locally brewed brands — and fresh foods such as wraps, sandwiches and salads.

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FDA commissioner calls for power to regulate compounding pharmacies

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration is renewing calls for legislation to give the agency more authority to regulate pharmacy compounding.

In a blog post Friday, Margaret Hamburg wrote that while the FDA has inspected more than 30 compounding pharmacies and worked to inspect state-licensed pharmacies that produce sterile drug products, the agency’s authority remained limited and was "not the right fit for FDA to provide appropriate and efficient oversight of this growing industry."

In the past week, Hamburg wrote, there were two recalls of sterile compounded and repackaged drug products due to contamination. In one case, five patients were diagnosed with serious eye infections after receiving doses of Genentech’s Avastin (ddd) from a compounding pharmacy in Augusta, Ga. In another, fungus was found in bags of magnesium sulfate intravenous solution.

"There is a legitimate role for traditional pharmacy compounding," Hamburg wrote. "Every day, thousands of pharmacists practice traditional pharmacy compounding — mixing a drug in response to a valid prescription for an individual patient’s need." These include liquids for patients who can’t swallow pills, or medications made for patients allergic to certain ingredients.

But sterile compounding, Hamburg wrote, has evolved and "outgrown the law." Sterile compounding is a much more complex process and requires careful attention to sanitation. It generally involves medications designed for intravenous delivery.

Sterile compounding has received significant attention in recent months following a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis among patients who received injected steroids from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. An investigation of the NECC found widespread contamination, disregard for safety standards, and former employees of the pharmacy have said that it had essentially become a manufacturer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 722 have become sick with the meningitis, and 50 have died.

 

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L.Jandgays says:
Mar-23-2013 09:13 pm

Pharmacy is very important especially with the lifestyle of a lot of people nowadays. This is something in demand. - J. Kale Flagg

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PHARMACY

Walgreens, Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen help redefine economies of scale

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens and Alliance Boots entered into a 10-year contract with wholesaler AmerisourceBergen on sourcing pharmaceuticals last week. But that’s not all. Besides the long-term contract, Walgreens and Alliance Boots will have the option on a potential 23% equity stake in ABC in three years. 

The deal takes pharmaceutical buying leverage to the stratosphere and changes the face of more than one health service industry. As Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, noted in a live TV interview on  Fox Business’ "Money With Melissa Francis": "Three of the largest companies in the pharmaceutical industry have come together and built the single largest buyer of prescription drugs in the world," he said.

Specifically, it creates a generic acquisition juggernaut. And that’s important, Fein suggested, because by the time this deal becomes fully consummated in 2016, 90% of all medicines dispensed at the pharmacy will be generic medicines. That’s not good news only for Walgreens and Alliance Boots; that’s good news for anyone who chooses to buy their generics from ABC. The way the deal is structured, Fein noted in his blog on the deal, ABC will be able to leverage the collective buying power of Walgreens, Alliance Boots and every pharmacy customer who buys their generic drugs from ABC. 

But pharmaceutical acquisition isn’t the only potential synergy here, especially when you factor in the equity stake. There’s also the potential collective bargaining power of close to 12,000 retail pharmacy outlets, between Walgreens and ABC’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy Provider Network, that can be leveraged against pharmacy benefit manager contracts. And with the addition of the independent GNP base, that combination makes for a pretty extensive health cost containment tool (think medication therapy management, disease state management, immunizations, nutrition counseling, smoking cessation programs) that can be tapped into by the national employers and health insurers that Walgreens has been regularly engaging. 

Both Fein and management consulting firm Blue Fin Group’s Bill Roth see the next step for Walgreens and ABC is to go into self-manufacturing on "generics, private label and anything that resembles a commodity item including DME." Roth goes on to suggest that other retailers will be forced into vertical integration. "Net net as other retailers and distributors think it through, this may force other deeper partnerships to develop. … Think of it like a game of musical chairs for really large players."

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