PHARMACY

Express Scripts, MedAvail pilot Rx kiosks

BY David Salazar

Pharmacy tech company MedAvail is bringing a new pharmacy convenience pilot to Arizona, backed by a strategic investment from Express Scripts. The companies are rolling out MedAvail’s MedCenter self-service pharmacy kiosks in Phoenix and Tucson, offering securely dispensed chronic and acute prescriptions, as well as OTC medications 24/7.

“Technology — and a culture shift — allow us the opportunity to evolve and simplify healthcare services to better accommodate our busy schedules, which in turn can lead to better adherence and outcomes,” said Glen Stettin, chief innovation officer at Express Scripts. “Through our work with MedAvail’s prescription dispensing technology, we are examining how MedCenter, MedAvail’s self-service, pharmacist-supported, kiosk pharmacies can provide patients with safe and cost-effective pharmacy care close to where they live, work or get their medical care.”

The kiosks, which are supervised by pharmcists, can dispense a prescription in under 90 seconds and can accept either electronic or handwritten prescriptions. Pharmacists carry out such functions as reviewing patient medical history and allergies, as well as potential interaction with other medications being taken. They also provide medication counseling to address patient concerns, the companies said.

“This consumer experience can do for pharmacy care what the ATM did for personal banking – enable greater access and efficiency, especially during times of immediate need, while streamlining the experience for those consumers who need expert counsel and support from a pharmacist,” Stettin said. “We believe this technology, when deployed on a larger scale, could have the potential to bring pharmacy dispensing to employer sites, hospital emergency rooms, community clinics and university campuses.”

Express Scripts also sees potential for MedCenters to open up opportunities for pharmacists.

“This technology also could help community pharmacists increase their community presence and the efficiency of their operations, relieve congestion at retail pharmacy counters, extend a pharmacy’s hours of operation, and allow pharmacists to focus on their important role in providing clinical care to patients,” he said.

There currently are six MedCenters available in Phoenix and Tuscon at such locations as grocery stores, pharmacies and medical clinics. The companies plan to have 15 kiosks in place by the end of 2018. Patients in the Inside Rx prescription savings program can choose to fill their prescriptions at one of the MedCenters. In addition to the pilot, the companies said they planned to expand MedCenters to several states, including Illinois.

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PHARMACY

Amerigen launches generic Targretin capsules

BY David Salazar

Amerigen Pharmaceuticals has introduced its generic Targretin capsules (bexarotene capsules). The drug is indicated to treat skin problems that arise from cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in patients who have not responded well to other treatments.

Amerigen’s generic Targretin capsules will be available in 75-mg dosage strength. It will be marketed by the Lyndhurst, N.J.-based arm of the company.

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Fred’s closes specialty pharmacy sale

BY David Salazar

Fred’s has completed the sale of its specialty pharmacy business. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company unloaded the business unit, EntrustRx, to a CVS Health subsidiary for a $40 million aggregate consideration, plus the value of its inventory.

“We are pleased to conclude the sale of EntrustRx, an important step in our plans to monetize non-core assets as part of our broader turnaround efforts.,” Fred’s interim CEO Joe Anto said of the deal. “The cash proceeds will allow us to pay down a significant portion of our debt and also be used for general corporate purposes.”

The EntrustRx sale, first announced in April, was part of the company’s efforts to reduce its debt load as it looks to turn the company around, alongside selling parts of its real estate portfolio and reducing expenses, among other efforts.It also has said it was exploring options for its retail pharmacy business. For the full-year 2017, Fred’s reported a $139.3 million net loss and its debt load increased as part of its plan to acquire divested stores from Rite Aid as part of the initial scrapped Walgreens attempt to purchase the Camp Hill, Pa.-based company.

Fred’s is set to report its first-quarter results on June 14.

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