PHARMACY

MinuteClinic debuts in Dallas, Pennsylvania

BY Sandra Levy

MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, has opened inside the CVS Pharmacy store at 5 Church St. in Dallas, Pa.

The clinic, open Monday through Friday with no appointment necessary, will provide a wide array of high-quality, affordable wellness services for patients between the ages of 18 months old and older.

“Our new clinic will help increase access to high-quality, affordable health care for people who live and work in the Dallas community,” Minute Clinic senior vice president and executive director Sharon Vitti said. “We’re excited to bring our unique care model to people in the area, and we look forward to being a healthcare resource for residents when and where they need us.”

MinuteClinic is staffed by nurse practitioners who specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for such common illnesses as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds and abrasions, sprains, strains and joint pain are treated, and common vaccinations for such conditions as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia and hepatitis A and B are available.

Prevention and wellness services offered at MinuteClinic include screening and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, tuberculosis testing, contraceptive care, motion sickness prevention, and smoking cessation. MinuteClinic nurse practitioners can evaluate and treat such common skin conditions as acne, dermatitis and rosacea.

Patients receive educational material, a prescription when clinically appropriate and a visit summary. A copy of the diagnostic record can be sent electronically, or by fax or mail, to a primary care provider with patient permission.

Most major health insurance is accepted at MinuteClinic. For patients paying cash or credit, treatment prices are posted at each clinic and online at minuteclinic.com. The cost for most services is between $89 and $129.

Patients who visit MinuteClinic and do not have a primary care provider are given a list of physicians in the community who are accepting new patients.

A new digital tool accessible via minuteclinic.com allows patients to view wait times at all MinuteClinic locations. Patients also can hold a place in line or schedule a future appointment from the convenience of their smartphone, computer or tablet.

The new clinic in Dallas will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Diplomat adjusts guidance amid exec shake-ups

BY David Salazar

As two of its executives presented at the 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Diplomat announced changes to its executive team and revised its guidance for its 2018 fiscal year. Diplomat president Joel Saban and Albert Thigpen, president and COO of the company’s CastiaRx division will be departing, effective immediately.

Chairman and CEO Brian Griffin will directly oversee CastiaRx as the company looks for replacements, with plans for an operational review of the division once a successor is found. The company introduced the specialty benefit manager division last April, bringing together two of its acquisitions — LDI Integrated Pharmacy Services and National Pharmaceutical Services — and its infusion and specialty expertise with the aim of providing high-level patient support.

“While we’ve been seeing some positive signs for the CastiaRx brand and value proposition, there is no question that this segment disappointed in 2018,” Griffin said. “We are looking at this business very closely and are taking decisive steps to address its challenges, including key senior management changes. We have also engaged an external consultant with deep PBM operational experience to help implement operational performance improvement initiatives. We expect this review to be completed over the next several weeks and expect to provide an update on the review as part of our Q4 earnings call.”

Ahead of their Q4 earnings, the company also has adjusted its outlook for the full-year 2018. It now expects 2018 revenue to be at the lower end of its previously predicted range of between $5.5 billion and $5.7 billion. Its adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $167 million and $170 million, which it noted is an increase of at least 65% based on the low end of the 2018 range versus 2017. Its net debt is expected to be roughly $630 million.

“Diplomat delivered strong revenue and EBITDA growth in 2018 despite challenges in our CastiaRx PBM segment,” Griffin said. “Solid specialty growth, robust infusion performance, and better than expected synergy capture following completion of the PBM integration drove 2018 results, and investments we have made in sales, systems, processes and facilities are expected to drive future growth and profitability, positioning the company well for 2019 and beyond.”

Griffin noted two developments for the company. The first is Diplomat’s selection by Hospitality Rx to be its exclusive provider of specialty pharmacy service for its roughly 250,000 Unite Here Health plan members nationwide. Diplomat also inked a partnership with specialty pharmacy consulting firm CSI Specialty group, providing limited-distribution drugs and specialty care management solutions to health system clients.

“These recent contract awards are evidence that the payer sales strategy launched in early 2018 is gaining traction,” Griffin said. “Payers are increasingly interested in Diplomat’s specialty and infusion services on a carve-out basis as they focus on improved patient care and driving down total healthcare costs. We continue to see interest and are in discussions with mid and large-tier health plans looking to enhance the management of not only their specialty pharmacy benefit, but also their specialty medical drug benefit. We expect to announce additional awards in the coming months as we leverage coordinated sales and clinical efforts across specialty and infusion.”

The company’s preliminary 2019 outlook includes expected revenue of between $5.6 billion and $5.8 billion, or roughly 3% year-over-year growth based on the midpoints of its 2018 and 2019 guidance ranges. This outlook assumes a revenue contribution of between $450 million and $500 million from CastiaRx, which includes roughly $200 million in Medicare Part D contract losses, including $120 million in combined revenue losses from client loss and contract renewals and $35 million in new business as of Jan. 1.

“We expect 2019 to be characterized by continued growth in specialty and infusion given our payer-focused strategy, and actions we are taking to return our PBM business to growth,” Griffin said.

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FDA approves Lupin’s generic Latuda

BY Sandra Levy

The Food and Drug Administration has greenlighted Lupin’s generic Latuda (lurasidone hydrochloride) tablets. They will be available in 20-mg, 40-mg, 60-mg, 80-mg and 120-mg dosage strengths.

The generic Latuda is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with schizophrenia; monotherapy treatment of adult patients with major depressive episode associated with bipolar I disorder (bipolar depression); and adjunctive treatment with lithium or valproate in adult patients with major depressive episode associated with bipolar I disorder.

Latuda tablets had a market value of approximately $3.2 billion, according to September 2018 data.

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