fda-approval-letter
PHARMACY

Amgen’s Nplate pediatric indication gets FDA approval

BY Sandra Levy

Amgen has received the Food and Drug Administration’s blessing for Nplate (romiplostim) for the treatment of pediatric patients age 1 year old and older with immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP, for at least six months who have had an insufficient response to corticosteroids, immunoglobulins or splenectomy.

ITP is a rare, serious autoimmune disease characterized by low platelet counts in the blood and impaired platelet production.

Nplate is a thrombopoietin, or TPO, receptor agonist that mimics the body’s natural TPO, and is designed to increase platelet counts in patients with chronic IPT.

“Today’s approval underscores our long-standing commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of patients with rare and difficult to treat hematological disorders,” David Reese, Amgen’s executive vice president of research and development, said. “In the 10 years since the FDA approved Nplate as the first platelet booster for adult patients with chronic ITP, it has made a difference in the lives of thousands of adults, and we’re proud to bring this treatment option to children who need it most.”

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Propeller Health my pharmacy
PHARMACY

Propeller Health integrates Walgreens into ‘My Pharmacy’ tool

BY David Salazar

Digital therapeutics company Propeller Health has introduced a new tool for patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who use the Propeller mobile app. The “My Pharmacy” tool will connect patients directly to pharmacy services, with Walgreens as the first pharmacy to be included in the feature.

Using the “My Pharmacy” tool, patients will be able to refill prescriptions for in-store pickup at a Walgreens pharmacy, locate a nearby Walgreens pharmacy, talk live with a pharmacist through Walgreens Pharmacy Chat, and check their Balance Rewards points using the Propeller app.

“The ability to refill a prescription or talk to a pharmacist through an existing digital health tool is an important step in making care easier, faster and less stressful for patients,” said Greg Tracy, chief technology officer at Propeller Health. “We’re thrilled to work with Walgreens on this launch and hope our collaboration will serve as a blueprint for future pharmacy integrations within our platform.”

The feature will roll out to the Propeller iOS app this week, with plans to expand it to the Android app in the coming month. Propeller health said further programs and partners are expected this year.

“Our collaboration with Propeller is the latest example of our focus on working with healthcare companies to bring new, innovative services to our patients and customers,” said Giovanni Monti, vice president and director of healthcare innovation at Walgreens Boots Alliance.

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CVS Health
PHARMACY

CVS Health’s Merlo touts Aetna integration, opening of concept store

BY Sandra Levy

Six weeks after CVS closed its merger with health insurer Aetna, CVS Health president and CEO Larry Merlo outlined several initiatives to improve patient care that are already underway.

Speaking to investors at the 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference today, Merlo said this quarter CVS Health is launching a specialized program to help support Aetna members being treated for cardiovascular disease to prevent avoidable hospital readmissions.

CVS Health also is piloting a program this month enabling Aetna managers to facilitate the scheduling of MinuteClinic follow-up visits within 14 days post discharge when patients are unable to see their provider.

“We are also piloting a program that leverages CVS pharmacists to provide face-to-face interactions and educate Aetna members on the available care management programs, as well provide patient-specific strategies to migrate the risk of nonadherence, side effects or gaps in care,” Merlo said.

Merlo also said, “While it’s only been six weeks, we are absolutely off and running. We are opening a series of health care concept stores, which will be a testing ground for a new retail engagement model that brings healthcare services to consumers in a more convenient and accessible and consumer-focused manner. As we pilot the new program and service offerings, we will identify the solutions that are most effective and scalable, and roll them more broadly across our footprint.”

Next month, CVS Health also is opening its first concept store in Houston. Among some of the services that will be tested are new health-and-wellness categories in the front of the store; an expanded suite of healthcare services that include concierge and health-and-wellness support; such new clinical services as advanced screenings for chronic disease and phlebotomy in MinuteClinics; and enhanced personalized prescription services in the pharmacy.

“We’ll use our data and analytic capabilities to provide actionable information to our pharmacy staff in an effort to improve patient care,” Merlo said.

Merlo also said that another example of its patient concentric approach will focus on providing the necessary support and coordination that patients need in order to achieve their best health outcome on their patient journey.

“We will provide support to the patient to address many of the challenges they face. It could be arranging transportation to and from the procedure, supply of durable medical equipment to the patients’ home before the operation, conducting pre-op blood work, or providing post-op support that includes medication reconciliation and delivery,” he said.

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