PHARMACY

AARP report: Decreases in generics prices are slowing down

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — The AARP Public Policy Institute’s latest Rx Price Watch Report shows that, despite an overall 4% decrease in price in 2013, the prices of generic drugs seem to be dropping at the slowest rate since 2006. 
 
The report, which examined the prices of 280 widely used generic drugs, found that even though a majority saw a price decrease, more than a quarter of them increased in price. Among those that increased in price, some 11 medications had price increases over 30 percent. 
 
In the case of bacterial infection and acne treatment doxycycline hyclate, the price of 100 mg capsules and tablets increased over 1,000 percent. Rheumatoid arthritis medication methotrexate 2.5 mg tablets  increased in price over 250%. 
 
With generics constituting more than 75% of U.S. retail prescriptions, those who rely on generics — particularly elderly patients — will feel the impact of these increases, as well as the slower rate of cost decrease, in their wallets.
 
“Declining generic drug prices have helped many Americans’ pocketbooks, particularly older adults on fixed incomes,” AARP’s VP, policy, Debra Whitman said. “Unfortunately, recent trends indicate that we may not be able to rely on these savings forever.”
 
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FDA approves two IBS treatments

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D) on Wednesday. Both Patheon Pharmaceuticals’ Viberzi (eluxadoline) and Salix Pharmaceuticals’ Xifaxan (ritaximin) are now available to patients.
 
“For some people, IBS can be quite disabling, and no one medication works for all patients suffering from this gastrointestinal disorder,” the FDA’s Office of Drug Evaluation III director, Julie Beitz, M.D., said. 
 
Viberzi can be taken twice a day with food and can help alleviate tightening of patients’ bowels by activating receptors in their nervous system. Xifaxan is a treatment in which patients take the medication orally three times a day for 14 days. 
 
“The approval of two new therapies underscores the FDA’s commitment to providing additional treatment options for IBS patients and their doctors,” Beitz said.  
 
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PHARMACY

CVS/pharmacy targets Hispanic shoppers with rebranded Miami locations

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The fruits of CVS Health’s acquisition of Navarro Discount Pharmacy last year are emerging as the company has rebranded a dozen stores in South Florida as CVS/pharmacy y más stores.

Twelve CVS/pharmacy y más stores, including 11 remodeled CVS stores and one brand new store, feature a bilingual staff and bilingual signage, the addition of more than 1,500 well-known Hispanic brands — such as Café la Llave, Agustin Reyes and Fabuloso — and new services unique to a national retail pharmacy.

“The goal of CVS/pharmacy y más is to create an environment where our Hispanic customers feel at home and can receive CVS/pharmacy’s best in class pharmacy services along with personalized products and services to better meet their diverse needs,” stated Gabriel Navarro, chief of Hispanic Consumer Growth at CVS/pharmacy. “The “y más” signifies the availability of more products and services that are important to the Hispanic consumer and an overall shopping environment that is more tailored to the Hispanic consumer, with warmer and more personal customer service.”

Additional unique features to CVS/pharmacy y más include —

  • New Navarro Fragrance Counter: A fully staffed fragrance counter featuring a large assortment of designer fragrances priced lower than department stores.
  • Enhanced Value: Competitive pricing on hundreds of products and more value sized/family sized products.
  • New Services: A digital service center featuring an authorized dealer and payment center for metroPCS, bill payments services for utilities, phone and cable, and money transfer services to a wide variety of countries.
  • Later this summer, an OTC Health Solutions Counter will provide customers with a dedicated space to pick up OTC products that are covered by their health insurance provider.
  • Cafecito (Cuban coffee) will be served at the pharmacy at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., daily.

CVS/pharmacy y más stores can be found at the following locations in the Miami area:
 
• 12180 SW 8th St. (New store)
• 2500 SW 22nd St.
• 8720 W. Flagler St.
• 9720 SW 8th St.
• 650 NW 27th Ave.
• 690 NW 57th Ave.
• 2599 SW 147th Ave.
• 1200 W 68th St., Hialeah
• 10700 NW 74th St., Doral
• 7199 SW 117th Ave., Kendall
• 101 Hialeah Drive, Hialeah
• 2780 Campbell Dr., Homestead

To celebrate the launch of CVS/pharmacy y más, free weekly events will be held for the community at all 12 stores through June 13.

South Florida marks the first market in which the brand has launched and, according to local reports, is expected to be introduced in additional U.S. cities going forward.

The move comes as little surprise as the retailer continues to test an array of changes to further enhance its front-store clustering efforts, which, according to CVS Health executives, includes a number of store resets that leverage the knowledge gained from the acquisition of Navarro Discount Pharmacy, a South Florida chain that caters to the Hispanic consumer.


“We are gaining insights about how Navarro merchandises products differently in every category and we’re leveraging their expertise to learn more all about the services, products, value and atmosphere that resonate with the Hispanic cluster,” said Foulkes. “… We intend to use the Navarro expertise to help us make our existing Hispanic stores across the CVS chain even more relevant to the customers we are serving every day,” Helena Foulkes, EVP and president of CVS/pharmacy, told analysts during the company’s Annual Analyst Day in December in New York City.

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