PHARMACY

Four health metrics moving in the right direction thanks to Rite Aid Health Alliance

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON – If today's healthcare is measured in palpable outcomes, then Rite Aid's Health Alliance program is proving the value a retail pharmacy provider brings to the overall equation. On average, patients participating in the Rite Aid Health Alliance are 36% more adherent to their medications; they've lost an average of 7.7 pounds; they have a 39% reduction in blood pressure; and they've lowered their blood sugar by 36%. 
 
Medication persistence and blood pressure control influence 75% of the predictive savings, noted Jocelyn Konrad, group VP pharmacy initiatives and clinical services for Rite Aid, during the Health Dialog webinar titled "The Retailers Are Coming! The Retailers Are Coming! And they want to collaborate to improve patient engagement and clinical results."
 
"The key to this program is that the pharmacist and the care coach work together with [their] patient to achieve the goals and ultimately to improve outcomes," Konrad said. 
 
"We're trying to do this transition, this very tricky transition, from fee-for-service to fee-for-value," Peter Goldbach, chief medical officer for Health Dialog and Rediclinic, told participants. "If you take a consumer-centric view of the world today – they don't really have a lot of time; they've found it difficult to engage providers and get care in a way that fits into their lifestyle; and they're very focused on convenience. That's a great opening for retail." 
 
There are a number of drivers behind this shift in consumer-centric care, Goldbach noted. First, there is the primary care physician shortage that is being exasperated by fewer medical students choosing primary care as a career track even as the demand for PCPs continues to rise. Second, with the Affordable Care Act, there is a greater emphasis on population health models of care. Third, consumers are increasingly footing the bill for their health. 
 
There are also a number of factors enabling consumer-centric care, Goldbach added, including the Internet, which has empowered consumers to better self-diagnose and evaluate treatment options, and technological advances, which are enabling more outpatient care. 
 
In addition to the Rite Aid Health Alliance, Rite Aid is delivering better health outcomes through its RediClinic, which is in more than 70 locations in seven markets, and its telehealth pilot in Ohio with HealthSpot. 
 
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Next iteration of PDUFA will shape biopharmaceutical drug development

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday held a public meeting on the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act for fiscal years 2018 through 2022. The current legislative authority for PDUFA expires in September 2017. 
 
At that time, new legislation will be required for FDA to continue collecting user fees in future fiscal years.
 
This will be the sixth reiteration of PDUFA. 
 
"For more than 20 years, PDUFA has helped the Food and Drug Administration fulfill its central mission of protecting and promoting public health by allowing the Agency to keep pace with the rapid increase in the number and complexity of innovative drugs and biologics requiring regulatory review," both the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Biotechnology Industry Organization released in a joint statement. "PDUFA V refocused the program on its original intent – patient access to life-saving medicines. It made meaningful improvements to the human drug review program such as increased communication between FDA and biopharmaceutical companies during drug development and regulatory review to promote regulatory transparency and predictability," the associations noted. "It also initiated the Patient-Focused Drug Development program to better incorporate patient input throughout the drug development and regulatory review processes."
 
But there has been a lot of changes in the drug development process, especially as the biopharmaceutical industry advances, requiring support policies that scientifically integrate the patient perspective in innovative drug development and regulatory decision-making.
 
"PDUFA VI can play a critical role in continuing to advance an effective, science-based U.S. regulatory review program that helps ensure that biopharmaceutical companies can continue to bring innovative medicines to patients," the associations concluded. 
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World’s second-smallest Target opens in Minnesota

BY Lesley Thulin

HIGHLAND PARK, Minn. — The world’s second smallest Target, a TargetExpress, will open in St. Paul, Minn.’s Highland Park neighborhood.

The 16,000-square-foot store, which opens July 22, will feature a pharmacy and cater to a community of families, empty nesters and college students, the Grand Forks Herald reports.

“Target did a really nice job of talking to the community and finding out what the community needed so that when we open, we have the right items on the shelves,” Mandee Handrahan, the store’s team lead, told the Grand Forks Herald.

The store will contain an organics section — the first of its kind at a TargetExpress — in addition to other wellness-oriented items, like water bottles, yoga mats and kosher items. It will also include two clothing aisles, sporting goods, small electronics, school supplies, a small selection of home décor, cleaning supplies and jewelry.

Target’s smallest store, another TargetExpress, is located in San Francisco and covers 12,000 square feet.

Target is embracing the small store model in order to reach more customers in urban areas.

“More and more … Target has (seen) people moving to urban centers, whether it’s families, empty nesters, millennials… We are trying to meet the needs of guests living in those locations,” Erika Winkels, a Target spokesperson, told the Grand Forks Herald. “I think we’ll see more and more of these flexible format stores in the future.”

The company plans to open five more express stores across the country by the end of 2015.

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