PHARMACY

Access barrier created by distinguishable names for biosimilars, GPhA says

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Biosimilars Council, a division of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, on Tuesday strongly urged the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration to avoid any departure from the currently accepted international nonproprietary naming system. In a letter sent today to HHS and FDA, the Biosimilars Council joined a group of healthcare stakeholders to raise shared concerns that adopting distinguishable names for biosimilars and biologics would erect barriers to patient access to new, more affordable medicines and could jeopardize their safety.
 
“Organizations representing the nation’s pharmacies, pharmacists, insurers, state employee retirement systems, taxpayers and others agree that biologics and biosimilars should share the same name in order to ensure patient safety and avoid confusion among providers and dispensers,” stated Ralph Neas, president and CEO, GPhA.
 
“We share the FDA's deep commitment to patient safety, and as such, we believe that biologics and biosimilars should be required to have the same International Nonproprietary Name," the Council submitted in its letter. "Requiring different INNs for biologics and biosimilars could lead to patient and prescriber confusion, increasing the possibility of medication errors, and would also effectively separate the biosimilar from existing safety information about the underlying molecule.”
 
The Council suggested that the current mechanisms in place (e.g., NDC code, lot number, brand name, manufacturer, etc.) are more than sufficient to allow for the tracking of important safety information related to new biosimilar products. 
 
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Seasoned Target vet joins Rite Aid as EVP operations

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid on Monday announced that Bryan Everett is joining Rite Aid as EVP store operations, effective Aug. 3. In this position, Everett will be responsible for all operations at the company’s nearly 4,600 chainwide stores and will report to Rite Aid’s president and COO Ken Martindale.
 
Everett will succeed Bob Thompson, who has announced his retirement from the company, effective January 2016.
 
“Bryan is an energetic and talented leader with a proven track record of operational expertise and success,” said Martindale. “We are pleased to welcome Bryan to Rite Aid and are confident Rite Aid will benefit from his outstanding leadership skills as we work together to continue to successfully grow our business and achieve long-term success," he said. “I would also like to acknowledge the many valuable contributions Bob Thompson has made to Rite Aid since joining our company over seven years ago. He has been a key member of our management team that, along with our nearly 90,000 associates, has executed a successful turnaround and positioned Rite Aid for long-term growth. We appreciate his leadership and commitment to Rite Aid during this important time.”
 
Thompson will continue reporting to Martindale until his retirement, working on specified service initiatives designed to continue to improve the overall customer experience in Rite Aid stores as well as assisting in the leadership transition.
 
Everett comes to Rite Aid with 20 years of experience in store operations. He joined Target Corporation in 2002, where he held various store operations positions of increasing responsibility. He most recently served as SVP store operations for the company. In this role, he focused on talent management, operational efficiency and integrated technology solutions. He also led new format, new store and remodeling programs while also overseeing pharmacy and clinic operations.
 
Before joining Target, Everett also held store operations management positions at Fleming Wholesale and ALDI.
 
Everett earned his bachelor’s degree in corporate communications from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky., and a master’s degree in human resource development from Indiana State University from Terre Haute, Ind.
 
 
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Five key stops at McKesson ideaShare

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — Kevin Kettler, SVP marketing, U.S. Pharmaceutical at McKesson, took Drug Store News on a guided tour of the McKesson ideaShare show floor following the Opening General Session yesterday. The five stations included on the tour are designed to increase access to patients, help bring those patients into the store and maximize these patients by offering new services to bring in new revenue.

First stop on the tour was the Health Mart model store, where Chuck Wilson, VP Health Mart pharmacy operations, showcased the latest in design, decor and merchandising. Slightly smaller at 2,700 sq. ft., the store accommodates 3,200 SKUs across the front-end and features a dedicated compounding room with an exterior window so patients can see the kind of clinical services available at a Health Mart pharmacy. Also new to the store is a lightweight fixture near the pharmacy area that operators can use to promote merchandise.

Next on the tour was Health Mart’s Med Sync offerings, which include several new tools to help pharmacy operators interested in incorporating a Med Sync business into their practice. Both John Gregg, director, Health Mart clinical operations , and Crystal Lennartz, director, Health Mart clinical development, described a new reference guide that provides potential Med Sync operators a five-step process to incorporating the offering into their pharmacy, including what needs to be done in the first 30, 60 and 90 days.

Medication synchronization can be an important acquisition tool for pharmacists, Gregg said. “Studies have shown that the average patient on chronic medications fills about 7.5 out of their 12 refills in a year. When we put them on Med Sync, they fill 11 out of 12,” he said. “When we talk about acquisition, really this is about how we offer physicians and patients a way to improve their health. Driving adherence, solving for gaps and creating that pharmacist/patient appointment, is something we can leverage with physicians, with ACOs and hospital groups to improve their overall population growth.”

The third stop on the tour featured Health Mart’s marketing initiatives designed to bring new patients into the stores. Michelle Gilliam, director, Health Mart Marketing, reviewed new and innovative ways Health Mart is helping stores stay competitive with national advertising and local marketing tools that help stores promote themselves … their way.  For example, Health Mart now offers a Facebook solution for its stores, which includes the creation of a Facebook page, automatic posted updates and training for store employees to respond to community posts made on that page.

Also new this year to McKesson ideaShare is an on-site TV studio, Gilliam said. “We’re filming pharmacists live at the show for inclusion in one of five different TV commercials they can customize for their local advertising program. “We’re offering matching funds, which they can apply to up to 50% of their media purchase.”

Morgan Gruye, manager, retail specialty solutions at McKesson, helped explain the fourth stop on the tour: Health Mart’s Retail Specialty Solutions. To help independent pharmacies compete in the specialty market, Health Mart is partnering with Diplomat, a nationally recognized specialty pharmacy. Health Mart Specialty Solutions enables independent pharmacies to provide patients with comprehensive specialty services, streamline specialty access and reimbursement services, and build relationships with prescribers. In other words, those open-sourced specialty medications can be adjudicated by Health Mart pharmacists now that Diplomat Pharmacy handles the back-end processing of those medications.

The final stop on the tour was the McKesson Generics offering.  Allegra Riley, McKesson VP generics program management, explained that McKesson’s OneStop Generics program delivers the power of sophisticated pricing tools and deep sourcing expertise with outstanding business solutions, which provides significant advantage to pharmacy customers for selection, pricing and availability. Designed with the needs of the customer in mind, the program offers numerous opportunities to maximize consistency and profitability.

McKesson also offers price assurance protection on generic medicines for 30 days, Riley added. “That has been something that has been truly a differentiator between what OneStop and McKesson does for our customers.”
 

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