PHARMACY

ACAP names Diplomat Pharmacy preferred specialty pharmacy vendor

BY Michael Johnsen

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy announced Friday that it has been designated a Preferred Specialty Pharmacy Vendor from the Association for Community Affiliated Plans.   
 
ACAP is a national trade association representing 59 not-for-profit Safety Net Health Plans in 24 states. Collectively, ACAP plans serve 13 million people through Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and other public programs.
 
In the ACAP Preferred Vendor Program, pre-qualified organizations are granted access to specific areas of interest for ACAP plans and their members. Each vendor must be approved by the ACAP board.
 
“Our focus on education, adherence efforts and helping manage costs of our patients make Diplomat an ideal fit for ACAP's plans and the individuals they serve,” stated Atheer Kaddis, SVP sales and business development at Diplomat. 
 
As a Preferred Vendor in the area of specialty pharmacy services, Diplomat offers its expertise to help meet the needs of ACAP plans as they strive to improve the health and well-being of lower-income and vulnerable populations.
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FDA approves Novartis’ Promacta for pediatric use

BY David Salazar

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Novartis announced Friday that the Food and Drug Administration had granted approval to its drug Promacta (eltrombopag) to treat children 6 and older for chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). 
 
The drug is a daily oral treatment for ITP, an illness in which the patient has a low blood platelet count for more than six months, putting them at increased risk of significant bleeding. Promacta was approved for adult use by the FDA in 2008
 
“Today’s FDA approval of Promacta for children with chronic ITP, a rare and potentially serious blood disorder, gives new hope to patients and their families,” Novartis Oncology president Bruno Strigini said. “All patients are important, but when we can help children, we are especially gratified. This approval underscores our expertise in benign hematologic disease and our commitment to provide treatments for rare diseases.”
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Walgreens reports positive outcomes for BRhc participants

BY David Salazar

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens released a white paper Thursday showing the efficacy of its Balance Rewards for healthy choices (BRhc) program in terms of weight loss and adherence to diabetes and hypertension medication. Launched in 2012, the program, which has over 800,000 users as of April, gives users Balance Rewards points for logging blood pressure or weight loss, tracking daily activity and setting achievable goals. 
 
According the white paper, a 2014 study of 100,000 users found that all of the 6,198 users who logged their weight lost an average of 3.3 pounds over six months, with 27% losing more than six pounds and 16.5% lost over 10 pounds. Those who logged at least a mile daily lost about 3.7 pounds on average. 
 
Beyond weight loss, the BRhc program also seems to help medication adherence, with those who tracked their blood glucose through BRhc adhering to their diabetes treatment at 82.9% about five points higher than the 77.% adherence for those who didn’t track their blood glucose through BRhc. Additionally, those who logged more than a mile of walking every day were 7.9 percentage points more adherent (86.4%) than those who didn’t. 
 
Regular use had similar effects on participants taking hypertension medication, with those who tracked their blood pressure adhering slightly more than those who didn’t—81.7% versus 79.1%. A similar adherence increase was found between those who logged more than a mile per day (81.5% adherence) and those who did not (79.1% adherence). 
 
“These exciting results demonstrate how an easy to use wellness program that integrates incentives, like Balance Rewards for healthy choices, drives engagement and positive behavioral change — this creates a more enjoyable experience for participants that ultimately leads to better health outcomes,” Walgreens’ chief medical officer, Harry Leider, said.  “The results also underscore the program’s value for health plans, employers and other payers.  It’s a big step toward reducing health care costs when you can effectively promote more active lifestyles among members in a cost-effective manner.”
 
With some 250,000 devices and apps like FitBit and MapMyFitness connected to the BRhc program, the company is working to expand the ways in which users participate. 
 
“We want our customers to enjoy a seamless and convenient user experience, and bringing this selection of connected devices together in one easy to find portal furthers that goal,” Walgreens divisional VP, digital health Adam Pellegrini said.“Our BRhc partners share our vision of encouraging healthy lifestyles and behaviors.  As we approach 1 million customers enrolled in BRhc, we’ll continue to find innovative ways to bring the program to more people through more channels.” 
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