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Albertsons gains URAC accreditation for Specialty Pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

Albertsons on Thursday announced that it has earned URAC accreditation in Specialty Pharmacy. By achieving this status, Albertsons has demonstrated a comprehensive commitment to quality care, improved processes and better patient outcomes.

“Receiving full accreditation from URAC for specialty pharmacy demonstrates our resolve to provide high-quality patient care each and every day,” Mark Panzer, Albertsons senior vice president pharmacy, health and wellness, said. “We offer comprehensive education to help patients safely manage complex and chronic conditions. Our commitment to these high standards helps improve patients’ lives and drive positive outcomes.”

“It’s necessary for specialty pharmacies to provide a higher level of treatment for patients so desired outcomes are achieved. Albertsons shows a dedication to patient education and safety through the recognition of quality it received with URAC’s independent accreditation,” Kylanne Green, URAC president and CEO, said. “With URAC accreditation, people know that Albertsons Companies strives to adhere to industry best practices.”

Albertsons operates more than 1,700 in-store pharmacies, serving approximately 5.5 million patients across the 35 states and the District of Columbia. Albertsons Specialty Care provides a multitude of services including prior authorization assistance, patient assistant program coordination, comprehensive care plans and medication adherence support.

Should Albertsons’ recently announced merger agreement with Rite Aid prove successful, the integrated company will operate approximately 4,900 locations, 4,350 pharmacy counters and 320 clinics across 38 states and Washington, D.C., serving more than 40 million customers per week.

EnvisionPharmacies, a division of the Rite Aid subsidiary EnvisionRxOptions, recently announced that its compounding pharmacy received accreditation from the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board, a service of Accreditation Commission for Health Care. EnvisionPharmacies also holds accreditation for both Mail and Specialty Pharmacy from URAC.

URAC is a nonprofit organization developing evidence-based measures and standards through inclusive engagement with a range of stakeholders committed to improving the quality of healthcare. URAC accreditation is a symbol of excellence for organizations to showcase their validated commitment to quality and accountability.

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Publix reveals next GreenWise Market location

BY Marianne Wilson

Publix announced a third location for its revamped organic and natural foods store concept.

The supermarket retailer said it will open a 25,000-sq.-ft. GreenWise Market in Lakeland, Florida, which is the home of Publix’s corporate offices. A projected opening date has yet to be determined.

“Our new GreenWise Market concept celebrates specialty, natural and organic foods, and we think foodies and health-conscious customers alike will love what the store will offer,” said Kevin Murphy, Publix senior VP of retail operations. “We’re especially excited to announce a location in our hometown.”

Publix in 2017 announced plans to reignite its natural foods store concept, with the first location due to open in Tallahassee, Florida, in late September 2018. The store is currently under construction.

The second location of the natural foods concept is under construction in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, with an expected opening in early 2019. Publix continues to look for additional GreenWise Market locations throughout its operating area.

Publix launched the GreenWise format in 2007, and currently operates three stores under the banner. But it has not opened a new GreenWise location since 2008.

Publix has 1,171 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

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Walgreens makes Shingrix available chainwide

BY Michael Johnsen

Walgreens on Thursday announced that GlaxoSmithKline’s Shingrix, the first new shingles vaccine in more than a decade, is now available at most Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies across the U.S., including Puerto Rico. Beginning March 15, the vaccine will also be available at all Walgreens Healthcare Clinics.

“Vaccination remains the best and only protection against the shingles virus,” Tasha Polster, vice president, immunizations for Walgreens, said. “By adding Shingrix to our immunizations offering, we are even better equipped to care for our patients as we strive to keep our communities healthy.”

Shingrix was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 20 for use in adults aged 50 years and older.

Healthy adults age 50 and older should receive two doses of Shingrix two to six months apart, even if they have previously received a shingles vaccine, have had shingles or if they are uncertain if they have previously had chickenpox.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices this past fall voted in favor of three recommendations for the use of GlaxoSmithKline’s Shingrix (Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted) containing QS-21 Stimulon for the prevention of shingles.

The three recommendations include:

  • Herpes Zoster subunit vaccine (Shingrix) is recommended for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complications for immunocompetent adults age 50 year and older;
  • Herpes Zoster subunit vaccine (Shingrix) is recommended for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complication for immunocompetent adults who previously received Zoster Vaccine Live (Zostavax); and
  • Herpes Zoster subunit vaccine (Shingrix) is preferred over Zoster Vaccine Live (Zostavax) for the prevention of herpes zoster and related complications.

Shingles is a major public health issue in the US, impacting as many as 1 in 3 older adults over the age of 50 years. Shingles is caused by a virus called varicella zoster, which is also known as the chicken pox virus. Nearly all older adults have the varicella zoster virus dormant in their nervous system waiting to reactivate with advancing age and weakened immune systems.

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