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With 500 clinics, CVS measures health care by the Minute

BY DSN STAFF

The convenient-care industry continues to evolve, and CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic is no exception as the clinic operator works to drive utilization and expand clinical offerings to provide wellness, prevention and chronic-illness management.

“[MinuteClinic] is a microcosm of what you want in healthcare reform,” Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO, told analysts during the company’s most recent quarterly conference call. “It’s accessible, it’s affordable and it’s good quality, which are all the things that the administration and Congress were talking about.”

Today, MinuteClinic operates 500 clinics. During the second quarter, it hit a milestone as it serviced its 4-millionth customer, while traffic at the clinics was up 51% during the quarter and comp visits rose 33% year-to-date.

Utilization is, and will continue to be, a major focal point for MinuteClinic as it expands its service offerings and takes an even greater role in healthcare reform.

“The challenge for MinuteClinic is to drive utilization, and that’s where we are focused,” Ryan told analysts. “You are going to see it with the new leadership in the program. Dr. Sussman is going to work with [Dr. Troyen Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer]—we’re working with health plans, we’re working with physician groups, but the real rate-limiting step here is utilization.”

Andrew Sussman has been named president and COO of MinuteClinic and as SVP and associate chief medical officer of CVS Caremark. He succeeds Chip Phillips, who now serves as president of TheraCom, a CVS Caremark company that provides support to biotech and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Sussman, who joined the company in September, is responsible for all clinical services and daily operations at MinuteClinic. He also is in charge of the continued development of Minute-Clinic in retail healthcare services.

As it stands, the company added more than 16 million lives to its network during the second quarter ended June 30, and 80% of its visits in the quarter were third-party paid.

As far as services, MinuteClinic has expanded its offerings to reduce seasonality and generate multiple visits for each patient. It also has launched services for the treatment of acne and other skin conditions. During the second half of the year, MinuteClinic is looking to introduce additional acute services and will be moving toward the treatment of such chronic diseases as diabetes, coronary heart disease and hypertension, Ryan said.

In addition, MinuteClinic recently formed an alliance with Alere, a subsidiary of Inverness Medical Innovations that provides specialized health-management services for medium and high-risk patients and complex case management. Through the alliance, chronically ill patients served by CVS Caremark’s Accordant Common disease management programs will be managed and have access to expanded offerings provided by Alere. In turn, Alere customers will gain access to direct service by MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and CVS pharmacists.

That means that nurse practitioners working within MinuteClinic locations will play an even greater role in the health and well-being of Alere patients. For example, if an Alere nurse identifies a patient with heart disease who is not taking medications as prescribed, or who is not taking medicine for a common co-morbid condition, the nurse will communicate that gap in care to a MinuteClinic nurse practitioner or a retail CVS pharmacist when a patient needs a test or screening at a clinic or is scheduled to pick up a prescription. The patient then will be counseled to take action to improve his or her care.

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Late-stage clinical trial results: MS drug is effective

BY Alaric DeArment

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. Patients taking an investigational drug for multiple sclerosis fared better than those taking placebo, according to late-stage clinical results presented Friday at a neurology conference.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals said MS patients taking Zenvia (dextromethorphan and quinidine) in 30 mg/10 mg doses experienced a 11.9% greater reduction in pseudobulbar effect – an MS-related condition also known as PBA that causes sudden, uncontrollable episodes of laughter, crying and other emotional outbursts – than those taking placebo in a 12-week phase 3 trial, results of which the company presented at the 3rd World Congress on Controversies in Neurology in Prague, Czech Republic. Patients taking the 20 mg/10 mg dose did not do better than the placebo group.

“PBA represents an area of high, unmet medical need with no FDA-approved treatments currently available,” study presenter and trial steering committee member Daniel Wynn of the Consultants in Neurology Multiple Sclerosis Center stated. “Although the involuntary emotional outbursts of PBA cause considerable impairment for millions of individuals in the United States, it is under-recognized and commonly misdiagnosed.”

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New report projects 12.6% increase of probiotics market

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The two takeaways from this story are “the [U.S.] market is expected to grow at a rate of almost 14%” and “the early movers in the industry will benefit in terms of market share.”

 

That about describes the opportunity in a probiotic nutshell.

 

 

The rising interest in probiotics can be credited in part to Dannon’s Activia brand, a line of yogurts and yogurt drinks, which has been heavily advertised to the American consumer with the message that not all bacteria is bad for you — and in fact some bacteria taken on a regular basis can impart some pretty significant health benefits. That advertising message — that probiotics can be an important piece in a healthier-for-you diet — has been all the more reinforced as Bayer supports its probiotic Phillips Colon Health, and as Procter & Gamble rolls out its Align probiotic.

 

 

And the consumers already are core drug store shoppers. The ratio of women to men in search of a product delivering digestive benefits is about 2-to-1, according to industry experts. When women hit their 30s and 40s, that’s the point in their lives when they’re looking for a strategy in life to help them manage their digestive issues.

 

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