Future of specialty pharmacy discussed at Drug Store News’ Specialty Pharmacy Roundtable
NEW YORK — Leaders in specialty pharmacy gathered in New York on Tuesday at the New York Athletic Club to attend the second annual Specialty Pharmacy Roundtable discussion presented by Drug Store News and Armada Health Care.
David Galardi, co-founder of Apogenics Inc., moderated the robust panel, which was comprised of Nick Calla of Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, John Musil of The Apothecary Shops, Tim Kaplan of Amber Pharmacy, Jeanne Ann Stasny of Walmart Specialty Pharmacy and Albert Thigpen of CVS Caremark, among others.
The lively discussion addressed an array of topics ranging from product innovation to market access trends and the continued evolution of risk evaluation and mitigation strategies [REMs], to how healthcare reform might impact specialty pharmacy.
The session kicked off with a focus on innovation, namely what therapeutic areas are migrating from the retail sector to the specialty pharmacy sector. In response to this, Burt Zweigenhaft, CEO of OncoMed, said he has noticed a focus on specialization.
“What I’m seeing is specialization in the disease. If it is a high-cost disease and there’s a drug to treat that disease that’s where I believe manufacturers are moving those drugs into specialty distribution because they get more accountability and better control over data. … Instead of being a generalist, the manufacturers are looking for a specialist and that’s why I focus on one disease today,” said Zweigenhaft of OncoMed, which is focused on providing oncology pharmacy services.
When asked about those therapeutic areas that are catching the eye of specialty pharmacy, several panelists were quick to point to mental health and personalized medications.
Healthcare reform and its potential impact on specialty pharmacy also was a topic of discussion.
“In the next two years, what we are going to see is a decrease in the amount of funds that they offer to Medicaid programs in each state. … Yes, we are going to be impacted. Anywhere from 24 million to 50 million new lives will enter into the marketplace. The problem is that there aren’t enough physicians to take over that care,” said John Musil, CEO of The Apothecary Shops.
Added Nick Saraniti, COO of Commcare Pharmacy, “I think that most Medicaid states will not only be under-funded but will be pushing more Medicaid patients into those programs than we ever had before because part of healthcare reform changes the federal poverty level guidelines of eligibility into those programs.”
Sponsors included Teva Neuroscience, Takeda and Endo Pharmaceuticals.
Walgreens launches high-impact push in support of World AIDS Day campaign
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens is making a high-impact health statement to mark World AIDS Day that will be hard to ignore.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, the nation’s top pharmacy chain will kick off a new collaboration with Greater Than AIDS, a health advocacy group, by streaming HIV messaging on the Walgreens digital board that rises 341 feet above midtown Manhattan in New York’s Times Square. In addition, more than 200 Walgreens drug stores in heavily affected communities across America are debuting new signage and informational materials that carry a Greater Than AIDS message.
The moves come as part of what the company says is “an increased commitment to HIV/AIDS outreach, education and accessibility.” Walgreens has enlisted its pharmacists in the campaign.
“Pharmacists are some of the most trusted healthcare professionals in the nation,” said Walgreens president of pharmacy services Kermit Crawford. “It’s our job to not only provide information about medication options but to also listen to patient needs.”
To that end, said Crawford, “Our pharmacy staff will help play a large role in our effort with Greater Than AIDS to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, especially among African-Americans and other disproportionately affected groups.”
More than 800 Walgreens pharmacists at retail and medical facility locations across the country and call centers are specially trained to help patients living with HIV/AIDS, according to the chain. Over the next year, Walgreens said it would add another 150 locations that offer special HIV/AIDS services. Online, the pharmacy and health retailer is offering additional HIV/AIDS information regarding treatment, medications and support services at HIV.walgreens.com.
Another website, Greaterthan.org/walgreens, provides information about HIV and Greater Than AIDS, which is a national movement that brings together the public and private sectors in response to the U.S. HIV/AIDS crisis.
“What is particularly powerful about the partnership between Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens is that it brings HIV information to people where they live, along with other health issues,” said Drew Altman, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which provides direction to Greater Than AIDS. “Walgreens is setting a powerful example of corporate leadership by putting its brand and vast retail footprint behind an issue of such public health importance.”
In June 2011, Walgreens will team up with Greater Than AIDS to support “HIV Take Action” Month with special promotions, and participating Walgreens pharmacies will offer in-store services, including HIV testing. And throughout the year, Walgreens digital billboards in Times Square and Las Vegas will post photos submitted by Americans that celebrate personal “deciding moments” in response to HIV/AIDS, the company revealed Tuesday.
Perrigo, Synthon to launch generic Xyzal
ALLEGAN, Mich. — The Food and Drug Administration has granted market exclusivity for a generic version of a medication designed to treat indoor and outdoor allergies.
Perrigo said Monday that its licensor and supplier Synthon received regulatory approval for levocetirizine tablets, a generic version of UCB/Sepracor’s Xyzal, which is marketed in the United States by Sanofi-Aventis.
The levocetirizine tablet is the only approved generic product having a label containing all indications, Perrigo said.