PHARMACY

Wasson touts pharmacists expanding role in NACDS conference speech

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — To put Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson’s speech at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Regional Chain Conference on Monday into perspective, one may consider that pharmacists today are the leading providers of immunizations and vaccinations, whereas five years ago, they weren’t involved at all.

Wasson, NACDS’ current chairman, focused on the themes of innovation and engagement, citing immunizations and vaccinations as examples that "people are ready for community pharmacy to take on a greater role."

"Consumer demand is pushing us to drive and accelerate the role community pharmacy plays in health care," Wasson said, noting the NACDS’ advocacy role and its fostering of collaboration and innovation among members. "And our nation’s need for new, innovative solutions to help solve our healthcare crisis is what’s pulling our industry to step up."

As part of this, Wasson said, the NACDS should pursue a regulatory change under Medicare Part D to have pharmacists recognized as providers while promoting NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill, which takes place March 13 to 14. NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association issued a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Monday calling for the change, saying it would expand the role of pharmacists and facilitate the services they provide under emerging healthcare models, such as accountable care organizations.

Wasson also promoted the NACDS Total Store Expo, which will take place Aug. 10 to 13 in Las Vegas. "This is the first time we are bringing all aspects of the business together under one umbrella," Wasson said. "I can tell you, at NACDS Week in New York City in December, suppliers were very excited."

During remarks in the morning, conference chairman David Cippel, president of Klingensmith’s Drug Stores, said, "NACDS said it would continue to innovate the Regional Chain Conference to ensure it stays on the cutting edge of member service. I don’t know about you, but I think this conference program has emerged as one of the strongest yet. I also want to recognize that NACDS has done a wonderful job in ensuring that we — the regional chains — have a home at the very exciting NACDS Total Store Expo."

Cippel said about half the chains at the Regional Chain Conference were already registered for the Total Store Expo, and 80% of exhibit space had already been claimed by suppliers.


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PHARMACY

NACDS, NCPA urge expanded role for pharmacists in new healthcare models

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Pharmacy groups are advocating that Congress expand the role of pharmacists in new healthcare delivery models.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association, in a joint letter issued Monday, asked the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to use its authority under the Social Security Act to expand the role of pharmacists in new accountable care organization models, community-based transitions of care and bundled payment initiatives. Current Medicare law doesn’t recognize pharmacists as providers, which could limit their participation in new healthcare models, the NACDS and NCPA said. The Innovation Center, as the federal office is known, tests and evaluates new medical care delivery and payment systems.

"Permitting pharmacists to practice to their maximum capabilities within these new delivery models would help increase medication adherence and coordination between healthcare settings, result in higher rates of vaccinations and reduce the burden of the physician shortage, particularly with the influx of new patients in 2014 through the Health Care Marketplaces and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility," the letter read. "Because pharmacists have the proven ability to provide services which lead to better clinical outcomes and lower healthcare costs, we urge the Innovation Center to use its authority to find mechanisms for pharmacists to participate in these programs, such as granting pharmacists provider status for the purpose of participating in Innovation Center projects."

Pharmacists, the groups noted, can help address the problem of medication nonadherence — which, according to some estimates, costs the healthcare system $290 billion per year — by providing services like face-to-face medication therapy management counseling and medication reconciliation, as well as immunizations. The NACDS and NCPA said that following their recommendations would allow pharmacists to better provide those and other services and be reimbursed for them through ACOs and other models.


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Perrigo launches generic scalp medicine

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Drug maker Perrigo has launched a generic drug for treating problems of the scalp, the company said.

Perrigo announced the launch of clobetasol emulsion propionate foam in the 0.05% strength, a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’s Olux-E. The drug is used to treat moderate to severe dermatosis of the scalp.

As the first company to file a regulatory approval application for the drug, Perrigo is entitled to 180 days in which to compete exclusively with GlaxoSmithKline’s version. The drug has annual sales of $38 million, according to Symphony Health Solutions.


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