PHARMACY

Sam’s Club upgrades health-and-wellness experience

BY David Salazar

Sam’s club is bringing a slew of health-and-wellness services to its shoppers. The retailer will be offering patients health screenings from pharmacists, introducing the Shingrix shingles vaccine and adding health insurance services for small business through SimplyInsured. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also will be hosting a free screening event on April 14.

The new initiatives were unveiled by the company’s new senior vice president and general merchandise manager of consumables and health and wellness Sean Jackson, who was most recently the company’s senior vice president/DMM office and entertainment. In a corporate blog post, Jackson, who succeeds the recently retired Jill Turner-Mitcheal, said that its pharmacies will now be offering free blood glucose screenings and cholesterol screenings in 30 states. Patients who are Plus-tier members will pay $15 for the cholesterol screenings and Club members will pay $19 per screening.

“This offering — along with the rest of our lineup of award-winning services and offerings, including immunizations, optical and hearing aid centers, and higi health stations — are part of our ongoing effort to help members lead healthier lives,” Jackson said in the post.

The warehouse club chain also is introducing GSK’s recently introduced Shingrix vaccine, which Jackson said is covered by most insurance providers. As for its health insurance offering, Jackson said Sam’s Club, through a partnership with SimplyInsured, is now offering members who are small business owners plans that feature Sam’s Club as a preferred pharmacy. Patients can compare plan prices by using SimplyInsured through Sam’s Club, with some plans offering savings of as much as $500 per employee per year.

Sam’s Club’s screening event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all locations with a pharmacy. The event will offer blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and body fat percentage screenings, as well as vision and hearing screenings at clubs with the capabilities.

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PHARMACY

CVS Health unveils Rx cost-saving initiative

BY Marianne Wilson

CVS Health has launched an ambitious initiative to help patients tackle the rising costs of prescription drugs.

The centerpiece of the program is the CVS Pharmacy Rx Savings Finder — a tool that the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company said would offer more transparency at CVS pharmacy counters. It will enable the company’s 30,000 pharmacists to check for prescription savings opportunities right at the counter. Pharmacists will be able to quickly review a patient’s prescription regimen, medication history and insurance plan information to determine the best way for them to save money on out-of-pocket costs under their pharmacy benefits plan, CVS Health said.

“Today’s consumers are faced with higher prescription drug prices than ever before and many of them are now paying for a larger share of their prescription drug costs out of their own pockets at the pharmacy counter due to growth in high deductible health plans,” said Thomas Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, CVS Health. “Until now, patients haven’t had the appropriate tools available to them to help them manage these costs.”

The Rx Savings Finder will show the pharmacist if the prescribed medication is on the patient’s plan and is the lowest cost option available, and if there are lower-cost options covered under the patient’s pharmacy benefit such as a generic medication. It will also show any cost savings that may be gained from a 90-day fill over a 30-day one, whether a generic or lower-cost alternative available, and other potential savings options for eligible or uninsured patients where allowed.

CVS Health said that experience has shown that patients who are confronted with high out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter are less likely to pick up their prescriptions and are less likely to be adherent to their prescribed therapy. The company will launch the new system initially with its CVS Caremark PBM members, and roll it out more broadly throughout the year.

“Armed with the information available through our Rx Savings Finder, our more than 30,000 CVS pharmacists can play an important role by helping patients save money on their medications, providing advice on how and when to take them, and ultimately helping them achieve better health outcomes,” said Kevin Hourican, executive vice president of retail pharmacy for CVS Pharmacy.

CVS has also introduced new ways doctors of their customers can see drug costs in real time through a program available in the physician’s office that allows prescribers to pick lower cost medicines.

The new prescription cost-saving program comes as CVS is in the process of completing its acquisition of Aetna, the nation’s third-largest health insurance company.

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PHARMACY

Cipla launches authorized Aloxi generic

BY David Salazar

Cipla USA has introduced its authorized Aloxi generic (palonosetron hydrochloride 0.25 mg/5 ml) through its agreements with Helsinn Healthcare, maker of the branded product.

The drug is indicated to treat and prevent acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. The company said that its authorized Aloxi generic was available to ship immediately.

The drug had U.S. sales of roughly $460 million for the 12 months ended November 2017.

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