PHARMACY

Walgreens promotes 90-day prescription program in Minneapolis

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS Walgreens is promoting its 90-day prescription program at community pharmacies in the Minneapolis area, the drug store chain announced Tuesday.

The 90-Day at Retail program promotion is in response to increasing demand from patients for more choice when it comes to their pharmacy options, Walgreens said. According to recent Walgreens research, nearly 4-out-of-5 patients stated that they prefer receiving their 90-day prescription at a retail pharmacy rather than by mail.

Walgreens pharmacists are trained to educate patients on the importance of their drug regimen in treating their illness or condition and help them identify potential problems caused from drug interactions, allergies, and any other issues based on their knowledge of that individual’s medication and health history.

“We know that patients want choice and access when it comes to their pharmacy options, and that when given the choice, some patients prefer the convenience and comfort of receiving their regular, chronic medications at their local pharmacy over mail programs,” said Brad Wasson, Walgreens VP pharmacy operations.  “In a healthcare environment where patients are increasingly looking for alternatives that make sense for their health, Walgreens is committed to developing programs that reduce overall costs to the system, improve patient outcomes and enhance patient choice.  That is why we are launching our promotion of 90-Day at Retail in Minneapolis.”

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PHARMACY

Merck discloses Q2 earnings

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck had global sales of $11.3 billion and profits of $752 million during second quarter 2010, according to an earnings report the drug maker released Friday. Sales and profits for the first six months of the year were $22.8 billion and $1.05 billion, respectively.

Those numbers compared with sales and profits of $5.9 billion and $1.6 billion in second quarter 2009, and $11.3 billion and $2.9 billion for the first six months of 2009. The changes reflect Merck’s purchase of Schering-Plough.

Several of Merck’s products had strong global sales during the period. The autoimmune disease drug Remicade (infliximab) had sales of $669 million during the quarter, while Merck also launched the once-monthly autoimmune treatment Simponi (golimumab). The cardiovascular drugs Zetia (ezetimibe) and Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) had sales of $564 million and $490 million, respectively. The Type 2 diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) had $600 million in sales during second quarter 2010, a 30% increase over second quarter 2009 sales, while Janumet (sitagliptin and metformin hydrochloride) had sales of $218 million. The HIV drug Isentress (raltegravir) had sales of $267 million, a 55% increase over second quarter 2009, while the hepatitis C drug Pegintron (peginterferon alfa-2b) had sales of $185 million.

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Online pharmacy provider, advocacy group partner to deliver low-cost meds in Ohio

BY Jim Frederick

CINCINNATI A nonprofit health advocacy group in Ohio has teamed up with a fast-growing mail-order pharmacy to launch a new and potentially expandable program to provide low-cost prescription drugs to underserved residents in southwest Ohio.

The new effort comes from Health Care Access Now, an Ohio nonprofit set up to healthcare access and delivery to lower-income and elderly residents of greater Cincinnati, and HealthWarehouse.com, Inc., an VIPPS-certified online mail-order prescription provider. Residents who qualify for the program will be able to purchase 300 medications for $3.50, with free delivery to their home or apartment.

The partnership will target 20 counties in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana, with a combined population of 2.2 million people. Health Care Access Now estimates that roughly 11% of the region’s population lacks access to a regular healthcare provider, and to affordable options for their medications.

“Like many areas in the United States, over the last 24 months Cincinnati has seen an increase in the number of individuals who have lost health-insurance benefits or can no longer afford co-pays for medications,” noted HealthWarehouse in a statement. The company said it will make prescription and over-the-counter medications available to metro Cincinnati residents “through a variety of care coordination community-based healthcare providers.”

Judith Warren, executive director of Health Care Access Now, noted, “Nonprofit health providers are always in need of support … this partnership supports our mutual goal of expanding resources to serve more communities.”

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