PHARMACY

Walgreens fields 500-plus HIV Centers of Excellence pharmacies

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Walgreens now has certified more than 500 of its pharmacies as HIV Centers of Excellence in communities highly impacted by HIV, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pharmacy operator announced Thursday at the U.S. Conference on AIDS.

These pharmacies are staffed with specially-trained pharmacists that work closely with patients to offer guidance and support with their medication therapy, provide refill reminders and also help identify financial support programs. In addition, pharmacists do community outreach to drive more awareness about services offered through the COEs. These locations are fully stocked with HIV medications often not found at retail pharmacies.

“Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago, Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS through its ability to offer accessible health and wellness guidance to patients across the nation,” Walgreens divisional VP retail clinical services Jack Cantlin said. “Our pharmacists are listening to concerns, developing important relationships and putting community pharmacy in a great position to be even more effective and relevant to those with chronic conditions, wherever they live. These Centers of Excellence offer a new level of support that can ultimately help drive improved outcomes.”

COE-certified Walgreens pharmacy staff must undergo clinical training through the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, known for its HIV/AIDS pharmaceutical care education program. The program includes cultural and social training related to HIV/AIDS issues and challenges and annual renewal to keep skills and knowledge current.

Walgreens also announced its expanded partnership with Greater Than AIDS, a national campaign developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation with the Black AIDS Institute in response to HIV/AIDS in the United States. This June, select Walgreens locations in major markets offered free testing leading up to National HIV Testing Day, as part of the partnership with Greater Than AIDS. Testing was done in coordination with the National Association of People with AIDS, the CDC, state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations in select markets, including Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Miami; New Orleans; Oakland, Calif.; and San Francisco. Due to the success of this testing pilot, the drug store chain now is working with Greater Than AIDS to identify future testing and outreach opportunities to reach those in need. Walgreens also partners with Greater Than AIDS on targeted informational materials on HIV/AIDS for Walgreens customers and in-store signage in heavily affected areas. More information can be found at GreaterThan.org/Walgreens.

Walgreens also is working with AIDS United and national AIDS service organizations to help advance the organization’s mission to end HIV/AIDS in the United States and Puerto Rico. The company has joined AIDS United’s Access to Care initiative, to help link thousands of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in low-income and/or rural areas with the high quality care they need.

“With HIV Centers of Excellence from coast to coast, we are uniquely positioned to work closely with grassroots organizations and communities to help provide access, education and support to those living with and affected by AIDS,” Walgreens senior manager of HIV and AIDS United board member Glen Pietrandoni said.


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PHARMACY

Signum, GSK enter collaborative agreement

BY Allison Cerra

PRINCETON, N.J. — Biotechnology company Signum Biosciences has entered a collaborative agreement with GlaxoSmithKline whereby GSK will receive the exclusive right to Signum’s proprietary phosphatase screening technology.

GSK and Signum said the companies "will undertake a broad research and development collaboration to screen and identify phosphoprotein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) targeted compounds, including those bridging the link between PP2A methylation and tau hyperphosphorylation." As part of the agreement, Signum will be provided research support and milestone payments as GSK forges ahead with its research and development activities in neurosciences.

"GSK is an ideal partner for Signum," Signum president Maxwell Stock said. "We will develop therapeutics using our phosphatase screening technology in an alliance that utilizes the expertise of both companies. We are proud to be working in collaboration with a leading pharmaceutical company in innovative research and development. Collaborations such as these allow partners to share knowledge, expertise and resources and thereby provide a highly effective way of progressing cutting edge research and developing an effective drug."


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QS/1, ECRS introduce point-of-sale, pharmacy management interface

BY Alaric DeArment

BOONE, N.C. — QS/1 and ECR Software have released an interface that links the ECRS Catapult point-of-sale system and QS/1’s NRx pharmacy management system, the two companies said.

The companies said they developed the interface to improve communication between the POS system and the pharmacy management system and merge pharmacy and grocery department business data into a centralized repository. Star Super Market and Discount Pharmacy, a chain that operates four stores in the Huntsville, Ala., area served as the site for a pilot of the product.

"I believe the relationship between ECRS and QS/1 will helpprovide the best customer service, drive loyalty and prevent costly errors by consolidating our Catapult point-of-sale system used in the pharmacy and grocery with our QS/1 NRx pharmacy management system," Star Super Market and Discount Pharmacy chief information officer James Ahlschlager said. "With tighter integration and through the incorporation of new technologies, we are striving to make shopping easier for our customers."


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