PHARMACY

Walgreens expands pertussis vaccine offering in response to Illinois outbreak

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday expanded its offering of immunizations that provide protection against pertussis (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis-Tdap vaccine) to all of its more than 580 pharmacies throughout Illinois with no appointment necessary.

This comes as the Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday alerted residents statewide to a series of pertussis outbreaks. “We note the recommendations of health officials that the best thing people can do to keep themselves and their families healthy during a possible outbreak is to get vaccinated,” said Denise Scarpelli, Illinois market pharmacy director for Walgreens. “In addition to children, who are the most vulnerable, those who care for or are in contact with children should also be immunized. We hope that through greater access to immunizations, we can keep our communities healthy and help limit the spread of the virus.”

McHenry County has reported an outbreak of more than 200 whooping cough cases, a county record, which it said is affecting more than 30 area schools. Last week, officials in Lake County issued an alert urging residents to be aware of signs and symptoms that can be associated with whooping cough (coughing, vomiting, spasms), as a growing number of cases now also are being reported in Lake and Cook Counties, as well as a number of surrounding Chicago area collar counties.

Statewide, more than 1,100 people have contracted pertussis this year, according to IDPH. Health officials in Illinois are working to educate consumers about the virus leading up to winter break for schools and the busy holiday travel season.

All Take Care Clinics, located at more than 45 select Walgreens in Illinois, also offer immunizations daily and can administer vaccine to those ages 11 through 64 years.

Walgreens pharmacists in Illinois can administer immunizations to those age 14 years and older.


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PHARMACY

Reports: N.Y. Gov. Cuomo signs controversial mail-order pharmacy bill

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that would forbid health insurers from requiring plan members to order prescription drugs from mail-order pharmacies, according to published reports. 

The governor signed the bill, AB 5502-B, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Carl Heastie from the Bronx, after both houses agreed to amend it to require retail pharmacies to agree in advance to accept reimbursement rates and terms and conditions identical to those for mail-order pharmacies. The bill would also prohibit insurers from exempting patients who buy through mail-order from co-pays while charging patients who obtain their drugs through some other channel, such as a retail pharmacy.

Supporters of the bill have said it will give consumers more freedom in determining how they get their prescription drugs and have also pointed what they consider to be risks of mail-order pharmacy, such as temperature-sensitive drugs left on patients’ doorsteps in weather that could damage them. In addition, supporters say, the ability to pick drugs up at a retail pharmacy allows patients to interact face to face with pharmacists and take advantage of services such as medication therapy management.

The amendments drew a response from the pharmacy benefit manager lobby, which has opposed the bill. The Federal Trade Commission has expressed reservations about it as well.

"Employers, taxpayers and consumers appreciate Gov. Cuomo’s admonition to the legislature to improve this costly, anti-consumer bill," Pharmaceutical Care Management Association president and CEO Mark Merritt said. "In this economy, employers need every cost-saving tool they can get, and mail-service pharmacy is at the top of the list."


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N.LEGAKIS says:
Dec-13-2011 05:59 pm

It's about time. Can't wait to welcome so many customers back that were FORCED to leave us. Nothing beats personalized extraordinarily ordinary sevice and care with a name and a smile. Thank you Gov. and God Bless America.

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PHARMACY

Report: Authorized generic versions of Lipitor capture 14.6% of script volume

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Though they’ve been on the market for less than a month, the generic and authorized generic versions of Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor have captured more than one-tenth of prescriptions, according to published reports.

Citing an analysis of data from IMS Health by J.P. Morgan, The Wall Street Journal reported that Ranbaxy’s generic atorvastatin calcium tablets and Watson Pharmaceuticals’ authorized generic have claimed about 14.6% of prescription volume since their launch on Nov. 30.

Ranbaxy and Watson respectively launched their generic and authorized generic versions of Lipitor the day Pfizer lost its patent protection for the drug, which IMS estimated to have sales of $7.8 billion during the latest moving-annual period. An authorized generic is a branded drug launched under its generic name at a reduced price, usually under a contract between the original branded drug’s manufacturer and a third-party company.

 


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J.WISHNIA says:
Dec-14-2011 11:08 pm

I am a retired pharmacist. I went to get my Lipitor refilled and found out the Brand Name Lipitor and the new generic version was to cost me the exact same price. This was through Community Rx Part D, I am in the doughnut hole, so I just decided to wait until January and get the Rx filled....... Jacob Wishnia R.Ph.

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