HEALTH

CVS Caremark appoints new president of PBM business

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK If there was any doubt as to the value CVS Caremark places on personalized medicine, that doubt no longer should exist.

Clearly, the company believes that one area its PBM can create real value for payers is within pharmacogenomics or personalized medicine. Not only has CVS Caremark tapped Per Lofberg, co-founder of genetic benefit management company Generation Health, to serve as the PBM president, but it also has upped its stake in Generation Health.

Generation Health will continue to operate as a separate business from CVS Caremark, but CVS Caremark will have financial and strategic ties to the company, as well as representation on its board of directors.

The moves are undoubtedly in line with CVS Caremark’s efforts to move well beyond a traditional retail pharmacy role and into a pharmacy healthcare service company aimed at improving health outcomes and lowering healthcare costs.

PGx clinical services are expected to be introduced to CVS Caremark’s PBM clients in the second quarter 2010, and will initially focus on testing programs for medications in the areas of oncology, cardiovascular medicine and HIV, among others. In addition, the partnership opens the door for future programs to test for certain hereditary diseases.

According to Generation Health, genomic testing represents a $3 billion market that is growing 45% annually. There are at least 100 new tests added each year and they are usually priced at several hundred dollars each.

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P&G recalls Vicks DayQuil product

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble on Friday announced a voluntarily recall of Vicks DayQuil Cold & Flu 24-count LiquiCaps bonus pack in the United States because the product does not contain a child-resistant backing for the blister packs in the box, despite label statements that the product is in child-resistant packaging.

No accidental ingestion by children has been reported with this product, and the medication itself is safe for use when taken as directed, the company stated. However, this product is not intended for use by children under 12, unless recommended by a physician.

The lack of child-resistant packaging means it is possible that a child could gain access to the medicine.

Consumers who purchased this DayQuil 24-count product with the expectation that it was in child-resistant packaging can call P&G at 1-800-251-3374 for a refund or replacement coupon. Anyone with a question can call P&G at this toll-free number or visit www.vicks.com.

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Senators urge for Medicaid generic drug reimbursement provision in health-reform bill

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Nine senators are urging Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to make sure a provision for Medicaid reimbursements for generic drugs stays in the final version of the Senate healthcare-reform bill.

The senators — Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Robert Casey, D-Pa. — want the conference report of the bill to contain a fix setting Medicaid reimbursements at no less than 175% of the weighted average AMP; the House version would set them at no less than 130%.

The National Community Pharmacists Association heralded the news, saying that reimbursements of less than 175% of the average weighted AMP would be “devastating” for many community pharmacies.

“We very much appreciate that both House and Senate healthcare-reform bills attempt to fix the flawed Medicaid AMP reimbursement system,” NCPA EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts said in a statement. “However, trying to meet halfway between the Senate and House version is an economic disaster for many community pharmacies, especially if they serve a large number of Medicaid patients. But patients will be the ones who will truly suffer by losing access to prescription drug services at their community pharmacy.”

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