PHARMACY

AllianceRx Walgreens Prime Survey uncovers medication management habits

BY David Salazar

A recent survey commissioned by home delivery and specialty pharmacy AllianceRx Walgreens Prime is uncovering how patients manage their prescriptions — and steps they can take to make the task easier.

Though the survey found that 57% of adults said they take prescription medicine regularly, it also found that 48% said they found it somewhat to very frustrating — nearly as many said they found doing taxes somewhat or very frustrating. Additionally, the survey found an interest in being proactive, with 52% of respondents noting they’re likely to start in October or November to avoid issues around new health insurance benefits that start Jan. 1. And 41% said they had already signed up for text or email notifications from their pharmacy.

“The survey results affirm steps we are already taking to make life easier for our patients,” said John Stephens, vice president of transformation and strategy at AllianceRx Walgreens Prime. “We recently improved our website to allow patients convenient, 24-hour access to order refills and track orders. We’re also increasing staff and expanding hours of operations to get our patients their medicine during the new year.”

In light of the survey results, AllianceRx recommended taking the following five steps to improve the experience of managing prescriptions easier:

  1. Use online tools — AllianceRx Walgreens Prime noted that its website allows patients to manage their prescriptions;
  2. Ask pharmacists about prior authorizations — If prior authorizations are required, the pharmacy might need new insurance information to update financial assistance and co-pay info;
  3. Ask health plans about medication coverage — Checking how medication coverage might change in a new plan year can help with planning copay costs;
  4. Ask doctors about appointments — Keeping in contact with physicians about prescription refills can make scheduling necessary appointments easier; and
  5. Ask doctors to verify the pharmacy they e-prescribe — Patients can verify with their doctor which pharmacy is listed on their record and make necessary updates.

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Walgreens Express
PHARMACY

Walgreens, FedEx partner on next-day Rx delivery nationwide

BY David Salazar

Walgreens and FedEx are teaming up to deliver on convenience for patients. The companies have launched Walgreens Express, a service that will provide next-day delivery nationwide, as well as same-day delivery in select markets.

Patients who are enrolled in Walgreens text alerts will get a text message notification when their qualifying prescriptions are ready. They can then follow a process to choose to have their prescription delivered the next day for a $4.99 fee. To be eligible, prescriptions must be received by 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Though Walgreens said most prescription orders are available to be delivered by the next business day, it said some prescription benefit plans and insurance plans do not allow home delivery, encouraging patients to talk to a pharmacist with any questions.

“Walgreens is driven by a desire to make health care accessible to all across the thousands of communities we serve,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations. “Next-day prescription home delivery is another convenience-driver, alongside our industry-leading number of extended-hours pharmacies and one of the most downloaded digital apps in the category, designed to put care in the hands of our patients. This expansion of our alliance with FedEx illustrates our commitment to making filling prescriptions as fast and easy as possible.”

Walgreens Express allows patients to preview their cost, prepay for prescriptions that can be delivered and choose between delivery or in-store pickup. If they choose to pick the prescription up in-store, they can use a dedicated Walgreens Express pickup checkout line in the store.

“FedEx and Walgreens are empowering consumers to choose when and where they receive their orders,” said Randy Scarborough, vice president of retail marketing at FedEx Services. “Just as FedEx package pick-up and drop-off services at Walgreens locations provide customers with much-needed convenience, the ability to ship prescription medication directly from Walgreens to their homes offers valuable flexibility to best meet individual needs and schedules.”

Currently, patients in Dallas; Chicago; New York City; Miami; Gainseville, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., can choose same-day delivery, with Walgreens planning to expand the offering in 2019.

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TCGRx acquires Parata Systems

BY David Salazar

In a move aimed at cornering a solid share of the pharmacy technology market, TCGRx, a Powers Lake, Wis.-based Frazier Healthcare Partners company, has acquired Parata Systems. Both companies offer medication adherence packaging and high-speed automated robotic dispensing technology.

“TCGRx’s merger with Parata provides a major growth opportunity for both our businesses through extended solution and service offerings for our customers,” said Duane Chudy, founder of TCGRx. “As pharmacies elevate their role in the healthcare ecosystem, we will be best positioned to support them on their journey.”

Together, the companies said they have more than 4,500 packagers, inspection systems and vial-filling robots across retail, long-term care, hospital, government and mail-order pharmacies in North America. As part of their merger, they said their focus would be on growth around central fill, inventory control and automated blister-card packaging solutions.

“Pharmacies are under intense pressure to deliver exceptional service in the most cost-effective manner possible, all while enhancing the patient experience,” said Mark Longley, Parata executive vice president of sales. “The combination of our collective resources will allow us to accelerate the pace of innovation and better meet the rapidly evolving needs of our pharmacy customers.”

The combined company will operate under the Parata Systems brand and be headquartered in Durham, N.C., with additional facilities in Wisconsin. TCGRx CEO Rob Kill will head the organization, with Chudy serving as vice chairman and a leadership team comprised of executives from both companies. D.J. Dougherty, formerly Parata CEO, has decided to pursue other interests.

“We are thrilled that we were able to bring these two outstanding organizations together and look forward to an exciting future for the company,” Kill said. “D.J. and team have done a tremendous job of building a market leader known for innovative technologies supported by an exceptional customer-centric organization. We are grateful to D.J. for his leadership and years of outstanding service to Parata.”

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